Can you get financial help from grants, scholarships and bursaries?

Thursday 10 January 2019, Money


Can you get financial help from grants, scholarships and bursaries?
You have to pay student loans back with interest after you graduate, but there are several other ways to help you pay for university that do not need to be paid back.

Universities offer help to support students with financial difficulties, to award achievements or to attract gifted students.

You can’t get Maintenance Grants or Special Support Grants when you start uni any more, but you can get financial support in the following ways:

Scholarships are awarded based on your academic achievements or abilities. They often cover all of your tuition fees for one year or more.

Bursaries are usually given as instalments each term or a one-off lump sum to help you out if you are struggling financially. They are means tested, so you will have to provide details of your financial situation, which will affect how much you can get.

Hardship funds are paid by your uni if you face financial problems after you have started your course.

Grants can be awarded to help if you are in financial difficulty or to reward your achievements.

Universities limit how much they pay out in bursaries and scholarships; for example, a uni that offers music courses could provide:

Six bursaries for £1,500 per year for gifted applicants who are struggling financially
Two scholarships each year to pay the tuition fees of talented musicians
Help for struggling students, paid from the university’s hardship fund, which usually has a separate limit on the total amount that can be given out each year

What can you get scholarships for?

You can get scholarships for the following:

Academic excellence, which is based on your grades or your proficiency
Musical talent
Sporting proficiency (you will usually have to play for the uni’s team)
Work placements with companies that will help fund your studies

How to find them

If you are already at uni or know where you want to study, check the university’s website for details of what scholarships, bursaries and grants they offer.

If you are still deciding where to go, use one of the following websites to find out which universities offer financial support for the course you want to study:

The Scholarship Hub
Scholarship Search
The British Council

You can apply for hardship funds through your uni’s website or by contacting its student services department.

Other financial help

You can find more financial help from GOV.UK, including benefits like income support and grants for students with children or dependent adults.

You can find out more on the financial help available to disabled students in’s guide.

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