Award money for college study

Scholarships and bursaries recognize outstanding achievement or assist students in need. The money does not have to be returned.

University bursaries are typically awarded to students based on their personal circumstances or their family's financial situation. Bursaries can assist students who may face additional barriers to full-time education, allowing them to attend university.

University scholarships are typically awarded to students who excel in their field. They are generally competitive and must be applied for.

The two terms are interchangeable, and each university has its own jargon. There may also be university scholarships to encourage or reward extracurricular activities such as volunteering, sports, or music.

University scholarships and bursaries are available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students as additional financial assistance. The majority of awards are for full-time students, and some are specifically for international students. To be eligible, students must meet the criteria  

If you do not believe you meet the criteria for a university scholarship or bursary, you can still look into bursaries, scholarships, and grants available outside of universities. These criteria can be broader. They might be based on where you went to school, for example. External agency or charity awards may also be listed on university websites.

How do you go about getting a university scholarship or bursary?

You should consult the websites and prospectuses of individual universities and colleges to find a university scholarship in the UK. The Complete University Guide university profiles may include information on any financial aid available, as well as a direct link to the university funding web page. If you're thinking about attending a collegiate university (a university made up of separate colleges, such as Oxford or Cambridge), see if there are any awards from specific colleges.

There may be entrance scholarships available for new students starting university, as well as progression scholarships for later years where financial support is contingent on academic performance.

Application Guidelines for a University Scholarship or Bursary

If your parents are well-off, you may be limited to scholarships based on achievement (whether academic, musical, or athletic) and/or a desire to study'shortage' subjects in which universities compete for good students. Examine the award's monetary value as well as the number of awards available.

Determine whether you must apply and when the deadline is.

Some awards necessitate an application. Others may be given to you automatically. Bursaries may be awarded automatically based on your personal circumstances or if you achieve the specified grades in exams. Awards that require an application are likely to require a place offer before you can apply. Make a note of any application deadlines.

Find out when you'll find out if you've won an award.

Read the eligibility criteria for the award, how to apply, and when you can expect to hear if you've been successful on the university's website. When you get your student finance assessment, you'll find out if you're likely to meet the criteria for income-based bursaries. Other awards may not be known until you receive your exam results, which may be many months after you've made larger decisions.

Share your details with Student Finance.

When applying for a student loan, check the box that allows your information to be shared with the universities to which you are applying. This will allow them to determine whether you are eligible for a university scholarship or bursary. Your personal information will not be shared with anyone else.

Keep an eye out for opportunities.

When attending interviews and open days, keep an eye out for special and unadvertised offers. Keep an eye out during Clearing because some universities may increase bursaries and scholarships to fill their spots.

Take special care with your application.

Check that your application is grammatically correct and free of obvious errors before submitting it. Check the fine print on any offers. There's also no harm in contacting a university if you're having trouble understanding the material.

Be reasonable.

Compare the total package, including any extras you may be charged over the year, to other universities you are interested in. Choose the right university for you, not the one that offers the most money.

Scholarship application

Other bursaries and scholarships

Other options for funding your degree include industry and company scholarships, as well as bursaries from charities and trusts.

It is worthwhile to plan how you will search for what is available. Begin early so that you can identify application deadlines for potential funds well in advance. If you are still in school, you may have more time to apply during the holidays, but you may need assistance from school careers or guidance staff before doing so.  

Step 1: Obtain 'evidence' for potential funding.

When applying for a scholarship or bursary, you will need to provide evidence as well as a plan. It is worthwhile to identify all potential criteria based on your individual circumstances, as well as the types of scholarships you may be eligible for. Make a note of any information that may be useful for completing funding applications and keep it handy so you can finish applications quickly.

First, consider whether the subject you are studying has the potential for funding, whether through the subject itself, a related career, or sponsorship by the United Kingdom Armed Forces.

Scholarships for your major

Degree-based scholarships are not only available for STEM courses. You may be able to obtain financial assistance from a body that promotes a specific subject (also known as learned societies).

The majority of funds are available for postgraduate study (including research studentships), but some are available to undergraduate students as well. Science students may be able to find summer studentships to conduct research, which will be useful if you are entering your final year of study.

Sponsorship or a scholarship for a future career

If you have the potential to be a good employee or want to enter a specific industry, often one with skill shortages, you may be eligible for a company scholarship or sponsorship. In exchange, you will either work a placement or agree to work for the company after graduation. Professional trade bodies and livery companies or guilds (ancient trade bodies often referred to as the 'Worshipful' company or society) may also provide financial assistance.

Students studying medicine, social work, or education may be eligible for NHS or government funding.

Another option to consider is a degree apprenticeship, in which you work as an employee while studying a degree funded by your employer - this will not be the same as going to university, but it may suit you if you know exactly what career you want to pursue.

Sponsorship from the United Kingdom Armed Forces

All UK Armed Forces provide sponsorship schemes to students who have already completed a selection course prior to beginning university. In exchange, you will be required to sign up for a period of service during which you will be able to withdraw after three to seven years, depending on your degree. You may also receive additional training in your specific profession within the armed forces, ranging from engineering to linguistics.

If you do not complete your degree or leave before your'return of service' period is up, you may be required to repay funds. Some Armed Forces bursary schemes require you to study at specific UK universities.

Scholarships or grants for community service, music, or sports

You may also come across awards for people who volunteer in environmental or community service. Instead of assisting with your living expenses, awards may fund expenses related to the specific activity. There are also awards for people who go above and beyond, such as learning Welsh.

Financial assistance based on your individual circumstances

Scholarships or grants may be available based on where you live, where you were educated, your family income, and jobs your parents do (or, if you're a mature student, jobs you've done). If you have a disability or health condition, are from a minority religion or ethnicity, or are the first in your family to attend university, it's worth checking to see if you qualify for financial aid. Scholarships and bursaries are also available for refugees and asylum seekers.

You will almost certainly be asked for financial information. If your application is for financial assistance, you may need to provide information about your annual household income, any benefits you receive, savings or investments, and even assets.

Step 2: Determine where and how you will look for additional scholarships and bursaries.

After you've identified the criteria that could lead to a bursary or scholarship from a charity, trust, or company, you'll need to start looking for what's out there.

Consider similar words that could be used to describe the same thing when searching a database or the internet. You don't want to miss out on a grant or bursary because you only searched for "scholarship." Make a note of the deadlines for each application so that you can prioritize them.  

Websites of universities

This should be your first stop because universities may list scholarships or grants in collaboration with other funders. University student money advisors may also be aware of other funds that are appropriate for your situation. Contact the student services department or the welfare office of the Students' Union at your university.

Other web pages

The Scholarship Hub is a free online database of UK scholarships, grants, and bursaries for undergraduate and postgraduate students in the UK or the EU. A basic sign up allows you to search for and subscribe to newsletters or alerts for new funding opportunities that match your profile.

Prospective postgraduate students should also look into Postgraduate Search.

Turn2Us is a national charity that assists people in financial need with practical assistance. The website includes a grant search function as well as helpful information on the information you may need if applying for a charitable grant.

The Disability Rights UK factsheet can help disabled students find charitable trust funding. If you live in Scotland, Lead Scotland has helpful information on funding sources, such as relevant scholarships and bursaries.

Career assistance

If you're still in school, see if careers staff or guidance teachers can assist you, or contact your local careers service.

Libraries in the public domain

Check with your local library to see if they have a current copy of the Guide to Educational Grants. The Directory of Social Change, in collaboration with the NUS, publishes this. It features over 800 grant-making charities from across the UK, with a focus on further education, including postgraduate funding.

Postgraduate students should also consult the Grants Register, published by Palgrave Macmillan, which lists postgraduate funding opportunities worldwide. It may be found in university libraries or reference libraries in larger towns or cities.

Step 3: Conduct your research.

Do not apply for bursaries or scholarships as you come across them. You may waste time applying for a fund that is less suitable than another where the deadline is approaching.

Instead, conduct a quick search to generate a list of charities, trusts, or businesses to approach for scholarships, bursaries, or grants.

Keep track of any application deadlines, as some application windows are extremely short. Prioritize which awards you'll apply to first: one with a deadline approaching, or one where you meet the criteria for the best.

If you already receive financial assistance or means-tested benefits, double-check to see if additional scholarship funding will have any effect on this. Be wary of scams as well.

Step 4: Implement

Read the application instructions carefully.

You must not only meet the criteria for an award, but you must also pitch how well you meet the criteria, as you will be competing against other applicants. Include only the information requested.

Try to understand why the money is being offered in the first place. You want the money to pay for your university education, but the people who give you the money want something in return. Is there a commercial component to it, such as a company scholarship where they may be looking for a potential future employee? Or is it about providing opportunities in communities where there have historically been few? As a result, you cannot use the same responses for every application.

This method is helpful if you need to write a statement or a short essay about why you deserve an award or about a specific topic. Stick to the question and examine it from various perspectives, just as you would in an academic essay.

Avoid applying for funding at the last minute.

Plan your time wisely and have someone else review your application. Make sure your application (or essay) is easy to read and free of factual or spelling errors.

Remember to

Some grant bodies will not consider you unless you have exhausted all traditional sources of funding, so even if you don't want to, you should apply for a student loan.

Other scholarships and bursaries that are available

There are numerous other scholarships and bursaries available, some from seemingly unlikely sources. Check out our list below:

Charity for Vegetarians

You must be under the age of 26 and a dedicated vegetarian or vegan (with references). ) in order to obtain this funding You can only apply if you have a firm acceptance of a place at university, and you'll have a better chance of getting a grant if you've already started and are experiencing financial hardship.

Grants can be given for educational courses or needed equipment. However, this can be a time-consuming process. Grants of more than £500 are rarely given, and the money cannot be used to pay off debts or start a business.

Memorial Fund for George Viner

This assistance is provided by the National Union of Journalists to black and minority ethnic students studying print, broadcast, photographic, or online journalism. You must demonstrate your dedication to this field by enrolling in an NUJ-accredited media course in the United Kingdom or Ireland. The fund can be used to cover course costs such as tuition, housing, travel, and other course-related expenses.

Assist Musicians

Help Musicians is a charity for professional musicians in the United Kingdom that provides awards for postgraduate students studying at UK conservatoires as well as financial assistance for medical treatment of a performance-related health condition (whether undergraduate or postgraduate). They also have a helpful funding wizard to help you find other sources of financial assistance.

Forces Children in Scotland (previously RCET)

If your parents are serving or retired Armed Forces personnel living in the UK with a Scottish connection (i.e. e If they are Scottish or you live in Scotland, you may be eligible for financial assistance. Its University & College Fund can help undergraduate students aged up to 21 with their living expenses.

Trust for Leverhulme Trade Charities

If one of your parents or spouse is a commercial traveller, pharmacist, or grocer, you may be eligible for financial assistance for full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study. They must have worked in this capacity for at least five years in the last ten years, and you must demonstrate that you are in "financial need." Depending on financial need and funds available that year, you could receive up to £3,000 per year for undergraduate study. Postgraduate students could receive up to £5,000 in funding.

Funds may be used for tuition, housing, living expenses, or study-related equipment.

Scholarships from the Holbeck Charitable Trust (in collaboration with the University of York)

You may be eligible for this funding if you are a high-achieving student at a school in the Yorkshire and Humber region applying to any UK university.

You must also meet two of the following criteria: having a lower-than-average family income, facing significant difficulties, or having parents or grandparents who did not attend university. You could receive up to £1,500. The money is intended to reward hard work and can be spent as you see fit.


In the South East of England, the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining offers up to £1,000 in sponsorship for final-year undergraduates studying geology, mining engineering, engineering geology, or mineral processing.

Helena Kennedy Memorial Foundation

If you face significant barriers to continuing your education as well as severe financial hardship, you may be eligible for a £2,250 bursary. You must be in your final year of secondary school or sixth form college in order to apply for a higher education course. You are not eligible to apply if you have already begun or completed a higher education course.

In addition to financial assistance, you will receive training and mentoring, as well as work-shadowing opportunities.

The Snowdon Trust

If you have a physical or sensory disability, you may be eligible for assistance with additional disability-related costs not covered by statutory funding. If you have a confirmed place on a further or higher education course in the UK and have applied for Disabled Students Allowance, you are eligible for this fund. Although your financial information is required, the grant is not means-tested. You could receive up to £3,000 and can reapply in subsequent years.

Funds can be used for disability-related study costs that have not been covered by statutory funding. Personal assistance, lodging, or specialized computer equipment or software may be included. You will not receive financial assistance for fees or living expenses, and you will not be able to apply for costs already incurred.

Gridiron Award

If you've played and love American Football, this could be the job for you. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the only NFL team to commit to at least one regular-season game in London, and they offer two students (one female and one male) the opportunity to earn a full UK higher education scholarship through their Gridiron Grant.

To be eligible, you must participate in a recognized program, such as JagTag, a simplified version of touch football created by the Jacksonville Jaguars to introduce the game to more UK participants. You must also demonstrate self-discipline, hard work, and community service.  


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