University Tips Blog
Image of a student holding a piggy bank
A headshot image of the author, Max Harvey

by Max Harvey

Student Money Adviser at Cardiff University

posted on 23 Nov '23

There is more money out there. Introducing university bursaries and scholarships

Student finance can be complicated but universities can help, and they employ staff to guide you and your family through it, to ensure that student loans are accessed correctly and on time.

Although student loans and grants through the Student Loan Company are the main source of funding for most students, there are other funding sources like bursaries and scholarships which are important for you to know about as well.

What are bursaries and scholarships?

Bursaries and scholarships are two terms you may have seen when researching universities. Although the two can sometimes be confused, bursaries tend to relate to a student’s status and a scholarship tends to relate to academic achievement.

Scholarships are usually grants paid to students who do very well academically or in other areas. This could be a grant paid if you receive three A grades at A Level for example, or if you are a talented musician or sportsperson.

Bursaries tend to be about financial need. They can be used to help if you are financially disadvantaged and they encourage applications from groups that might be less likely to attend university. Examples of bursary recipients might be students from lower income households, students who have been in the care system or the children of armed forces veterans.

Further information on bursaries and scholarships

The difficulty with both bursaries and scholarships is that they are individual to a university. If you are trying to choose between a few institutions, it is important that you research the scholarships and bursaries available from each of them, to make sure you have the full picture.

Most students will want to prioritise the course and the university when making decisions, but bursaries and scholarships can sometimes make the difference between two similar offers and, if not, they can certainly be a very welcome extra to help make life a little easier when you start your course.

One last comment is a word of warning...

When you are dealing with anything financial, be it loans, banking or bursaries, it is important to be aware of scams. If you are unsure about an email or a text, don’t click on links within them, or offer any personal details if you do. If in doubt, contact a university through the official channels and check what you’ve been sent is genuine.

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