University Tips Blog
Image of a money box - a student saving for university
A headshot image of the author, Nia Stokes

by Nia Stokes

Student Recruitment Officer at Swansea University

posted on 17 Feb '23

A guide to university scholarships and bursaries

University is fast becoming the most popular post-18 option. However, for some students and parents, course costs can be a prohibiting factor. Student finance does a great deal to make university affordable for students, but the financial aid doesn’t stop there; there are a range of further support options available for your students in the form of scholarships and bursaries.

What are university bursaries?

Bursaries are one-off payments which can be offered for certain criteria, including low household incomes, disabilities, or to students from certain areas or countries. The aim of these bursaries is to remove certain barriers to education and encourage students to attend university who may not have considered it previously. They may be popular with your students because this money will not need to be paid back to the university. Most universities also have hardship funds, which are one-off payments specifically designed to help students falling into unexpected financial difficulty.

An image of a desk with a money box

What are university scholarships?

Scholarships are delivered in a different way, usually annually or as instalments each term. They aim to reward excellence in certain areas. Academic scholarships reward students for their grades and usually do not require an application form. For example, once a student accepts an offer at Swansea University, we will reward AAA grades with a £3,000 scholarship, and AAB with £2,000. This is split across their time at university, with UCAS points being accepted for students completing other forms of qualifications.

There are also sporting and music scholarships. These will need to be applied for online, where there is likely to be a detailed list of requirements regarding the stipulated level of ability in order to be eligible.

The financial support can be used to support the cost of training, competitions and exams. Certain universities will also run specific scholarships for high performance sports, where the student is offered assistance from specialist coaches and physiotherapists to help them pursue their passion alongside an academic degree. They will also focus on areas such as strength and conditioning, lifestyle management and sports science.

There are some unexpected scholarships offered by funding bodies and universities too, with criteria such as being vegetarian or vegan, having the surname Graham in Glasgow, or having a parent in the military, pharmaceuticals, or a grocery business! With this in mind, researching financial support can be a worthwhile activity to complete with your students.

The Scholarship Hub is a great website for students to start comparing offers from lots of different universities in one place, and there is also a teacher’s area with further resources. It is important to note that each university will have different application processes and requirements, so it is best for your students to look at their respective websites before jumping into their application!

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