National Scholarship Programme
- The National Scholarship Programme (NSP) came into effect in England in 2012.
- Its main purpose is to benefit individual students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- It has been set up to help offset the cost of a university education resulting from increased tuition fees. All English universities have to submit an Access Agreement to OFFA for approval. This document balances a request to charge higher than the minimum tuition fees with a plan to alleviate these higher costs for the most deserving students.
- Institutions that do not intend to charge tuition fees higher than the basic fee (£6,000) can opt out of the NSP.
- In 2013–14 the Government's contribution to the NSP will be £100m. Participating universities will be expected to provide at least matched funding.
The National Scholarship Programme is open to English universities only.
- NSP will provide a direct benefit to individual, eligible students
- Each eligible student will receive a benefit of not less than £3,000. It is a one-year benefit, not a recurrent, annual entitlement.
- No more than £1,000 is to be awarded as a cash bursary
- To be eligible to receive the NSP you must have a declared household income below £25,000, though you are not automatically eligible if you are in receipt of a full grant.
- Money from the NSP is paid by universities and colleges and you have to apply directly to them.
- You can apply once you have got an offer for a place at your university or college. Contact them to find out if you qualify, how to apply and what kind of NSP funding they offer.
- NSP awards don’t affect any other student finance you might apply for, apart from the Tuition Fee Loan.
In practice, all English universities decide their own detailed criteria for eligibility for the NSP.
- In doing so, some have re-written their financial support packages completely and some have simply absorbed the new requirements into their existing bursary and scholarship schemes.
- Many universities have gone further than the match funding required by the NSP scheme by extending the award to second and later years of a student’s course, or by extending the eligibility to a wider group of students.
- There is much variation in what is on offer. Some universities extend the benefits to all UK students, some to EU students.
- All English universities have full details on their websites. Read the details of each university scheme to see if you qualify and what and how much you will get.
- Universities have been advised to favour fee waivers and discounts and so many of the packages on offer provide a fee waiver and/or a university accommodation discount. Some choice is often available to eligible students. In effect, these packages offer a combination of debt reduction and cash in hand.
- Universities may offer other bursaries and scholarships in addition to the NSP and so you may be eligible for further support.