Application guidance


Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government programme set up to tackle digital exclusion during the coronavirus crisis. It is delivered with the support of local councils, SCVO and a wide range of organisations from across Scotland and the UK.    

Following a range of previous application rounds, we would like to invite direct applications from colleges for devices for digitally excluded students. 

This is intended to meet immediate need, and up to 2,000 devices and internet connections are available for distribution across Scotland’s colleges before the end of December. 

iPads and Chromebooks are available. These devices are intended to be ‘gifted’ to eligible students to support their learning as well as the wider benefits of being online. The devices are not intended to be taken on as assets by individual colleges, have device management installed or form part of a loan scheme for students. We will ask for some basic monitoring and data to be provided with the details of those who have received the devices. 

Mobile internet connections (MiFi hotspots) with 24 months of unlimited data will also be provided on request with these devices. We expect that some students will require both a device and an internet connection, while some may only require a device or an internet connection. 

What students are eligible? 

We would expect colleges to allocate devices to students who meet both the following criteria: 

  • They are digitally excluded – they currently do not have access to an appropriate device and/or internet connection at home; and 
  • They are from a low income household – they cannot afford to buy a device or pay for internet access from their household income. 

We do not require proof of entitlement to other forms of financial support as we expect staff will use their judgement to ensure this support is targeted at people who need it most. 

What can colleges apply for? 

The table below shows the maximum number of devices which each college or region can apply for, based on standard college funding formulas. 

College or Region Number of devices 
Ayrshire College 148 
Borders College 36 
Dumfries and Galloway College 42 
Dundee and Angus College 122 
Edinburgh College 194 
Fife College 150 
Forth Valley College 96 
Glasgow Region 402 
Highlands and Islands Region 200 
Lanarkshire Region 204 
Newbattle Abbey College 
North East Scotland College 138 
SRUC 38 
West College Scotland 176 
West Lothian College 48 

We would expect devices to normally be issued to students within 14 days of delivery (excluding the Christmas holiday period). We understand therefore you may not wish to apply for your full allocation, recognising capacity constraints. 

Previous applicants to other phases of Connecting Scotland must have successfully completed the distribution of their devices and submitted the required monitoring information for their application to be considered in this round. 

Staff working for public and voluntary sector partner organisations in communities can also apply directly for smaller batches of devices through the separate Connecting Scotland Fast Track process

How can colleges apply? 

We would prefer one co-ordinated application from each college for support, although we will accept multiple applications where it would be preferrable to deliver devices and liaise with different staff across different buildings or campuses. 

You can apply using the online application

The application will ask you to: 

  • Tell us about the people you want to support: what are their needs and what difference will it make to have access to a device an internet connection? Names or specific personal data is not required at this stage, but must be provided within 14 days of you receiving the devices. 
  • Tell us what services and support are available to students to help them develop their digital skills and stay safe and confident online. 
  • Identify the number of devices (Chromebooks or iPads) and internet connections (mobile WiFi) you would like to apply for. 

The closing date for applications in this round is Monday 6th December at 5pm to ensure we can deliver devices before the Christmas break. Applications may be awarded before the closing date, so submission of applications as soon as possible would be welcomed. 

Digital Champions   

Unlike other rounds of Connecting Scotland, we do not require a commitment to provide 1-to-1 Digital Champion support to students, as we expect other support services will be available in the college to support students to develop their digital skills and confidence. 

A Digital Champion is a member of staff, or a volunteer, who’s already supporting someone, and has been trained by SCVO to help them get up and running with their iPad or Chromebook.   

Colleges can take part in our Digital Champion training sessions and receive additional support should it be required. 

What you’ll need to do if your application is successful   

If your application is successful, your organisation will have to sign a grant agreement with SCVO.    

The agreement covers:   

  • the devices you’ve applied for   
  • your expected commitment to the programme   
  • SCVO’s responsibilities   

It also covers general grant conditions. This covers things like:  

  • an agreement to comply with data protection regulations  
  • health and safety considerations  
  • protection of vulnerable groups  
  • other legislation that’s relevant to your organisation  
  • sharing monitoring and evaluation data with SCVO  

Monitoring and evaluation data will be shared with local councils, and the Scottish Government, over the following 24 months.   

After you have signed the grant agreement, the next steps are: 

  1. Accept your grant agreement – we’ll order your devices for distribution to the agreed address once received.   
  2. Receive your devices – Make a note of the device serial numbers and SIM card phone numbers so you can keep track of who receives what. 
  3. Issue devices – Make sure you provide those you’re supporting with a User Agreement so they understand what’s involved. Keep the signed copies safe.   
  4. Input user data – You can enter this monitoring information via our portal. This is essential to enable us to provide support, demonstrate impact and report to auditors. You must provide this information within 14 days of receiving devices 
  5. Encourage students to take part in the welcome survey with the User – This helps us measure impact. It’s optional for the user to take part but everyone should be asked.   

Devices and connectivity   

You can apply for iPads, Chromebooks or a combination of both. You need to decide which type of device is most suitable for your students.    

For those without access to an internet connection at home, you can also apply for a Vodafone or EE mobile WiFi (MiFi) device with unlimited data for up to 24 months. 


Contact if you’ve any questions about the Connecting Scotland programme. 

Apply now