University Bursaries for Low Income Families
Bursaries are usually awarded to students based on their personal circumstances, or if they come from a low-income family. Bursaries can help students who may face more barriers to attending full-time education, enabling them to access university.
University scholarships usually reward students who are outstanding in their subject, sport or music. They generally (but not always) need to be applied for, and are often competitive.
However, the two terms can be used interchangeably and each university has its own terminology. There can also be university scholarships to encourage or reward activities separate from your studies, such as volunteering.
University scholarships and bursaries are available for both undergraduate and postgraduate students as extra financial help. Most awards are for full-time students. There can also be awards specifically for international students. You must meet the criteria, and the money does not need to be paid back.
Finding a university scholarship or bursary.
- Consult the websites and prospectuses of individual universities and colleges, as well as UCAS. If you are considering a ‘collegiate university’ (a university comprising a number of separate colleges, like Oxford or Cambridge) check if there are awards from particular colleges. See also our advice about Open days and Clearing, below.
- For a summary of undergraduate university scholarships or bursaries, the Complete University Guide has pulled together a list of what’s on offer at universities in each UK nation. See below to download our university bursary and scholarship grids. Further down this page we tell you more about the criteria in the headings, so you can find out what they mean.
- There may be entrance scholarships, awarded to new students entering university, or progression scholarships, with financial support for year two being conditional upon the successful completion of year one.
- Applying for postgraduate study? We also have a guide to financial support for postgraduate students.
- If you don’t think you’ll fit the criteria for either a university scholarship or a bursary, it’s still worth a look at what bursaries and scholarships are available outside of universities. The criteria for these awards can be broader, for example based on where you attended school, what your parents do for a living, or even for being a vegetarian. Awards from external agencies or charities may also be listed on university websites.