Other Bursaries and Scholarships
For other ways to fund your university degree, check for industry or company scholarships, or bursaries from charities or trusts. See our suggestions on how to search for other funding, and some examples of what's available.
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Structure your search for other bursaries and scholarships • Gather your evidence for potential funding • Plan your search for funding • Do your research but don't apply – yet! • Top tips when applying for a scholarship or bursary • Examples of bursaries, scholarships and funding available
How do you find extra funding for your university degree? Before you set off to look for other scholarships, it's worth planning how you're going to structure your search. Start early, so you can identify application deadlines for likely funds well in advance. If you're still at school you'll have more time to apply during holidays, but you may want to refer to careers or guidance staff before then. Our suggestion for structuring your search has four stages:
- Gather your 'evidence' for potential funding. You are only going to get a scholarship (or bursary) for university if you meet the criteria for it. It's worth identifying all your potential 'criteria' from your individual circumstances. This will give you a bank of evidence to use in your applications. See our list of ideas below.
- Plan where and how to look for other scholarships and bursaries. We list some likely places to look further down this page.
- Do your research but don't apply yet… Try not to get caught up in applying for the first award you find, in case you miss others with closer deadlines. Try to build yourself a list of potential scholarship or bursaries, noting their deadlines for application. Check how well you meet their requirements. Then prioritise which to apply for first.
- Apply! Check our top tips for applications to make sure there's nothing you haven't thought of.
Could you get a scholarship for your degree subject? Don't assume funding is only available for STEM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). There is also financial help for those who wish to increase their skills in craft work, or teaching home economics. Check out whether there could be funding from a body that promotes a particular subject (sometimes referred to as 'learned societies'). Research funds are usually geared to postgraduate study at university, but they are sometimes available to undergraduate students. Funds may be offered for vacation research in areas from astronomy to plant pathology – useful for students entering the final year of their degree.
Can you get sponsorship or a scholarship related to a potential career? Company scholarships or sponsorship may be given to university students with the potential to become good employees. This is more likely in industries with skills shortages, such as engineering or car manufacturing. In return you are likely to work a placement with the company, or commit to working for them after graduation. Check professional trade bodies and 'livery companies' or guilds – ancient trade bodies often named 'The Worshipful' company or society. These may also sponsor university students entering their profession.
The UK's Armed Forces all offer sponsorship schemes, open to students who have already passed a selection course before starting university. You'll need to sign up for a period of service, although you may apply to withdraw after three years. As well as a bursary during your degree, you'll get further training in your specific profession within the armed forces – such as engineering, intelligence analyst or linguistics specialist. If you do not complete your degree, or leave before your three years are up, you may have to repay funds. For some Armed Forces bursary schemes, you must study at specified universities in the UK.
Could you get a scholarship or funding for community work, music, sport? Other activities you already do could help you find financial support for your university studies. There are awards out there for people who volunteer in green activities or do community work. There are also awards for people willing to do extra, such as learning in Welsh.
Next, look at your personal circumstances. This includes where you live and where you were educated, your family income, jobs your parents do (or if you're a mature student, jobs you've done). Do you have any disability or health condition? What about your religion or ethnicity. It's worth checking if there is financial support for university based on any of these factors. There are also scholarships and bursaries for people who are refugees or asylum seekers.
While you're going through the above list, note down all the information that might be useful in completing funding applications. Make it easy to refer to, so that you can complete applications quickly. You are likely to be asked for financial information – you may already have what you need if you've applied for student finance. If an application relates to financial hardship, you may need details of annual household income, income from any benefits, savings or investments, and even assets.
Searching for a scholarship or bursary? Just like a detective, you'll need evidence, and a plan.
Having identified criteria that could land you a bursary or scholarship from a charity, trust or company, you'll need to start looking for what might be available. We're not saying you'll have to become
If you are searching a database or on the Internet, consider similar words that could be used to describe the same thing. You don't want to miss out on a grant or bursary because you only searched using the word 'scholarship'!
Keep a note of where and what terms you've searched for so far, to avoid repeating your work.
- University websites. If you haven't looked here yet, do it now! You could also try getting in touch with a university's student services department, or Students' Union welfare office. University student money advisors may know of other funds suitable for your circumstances.
- Other websites. The Scholarship Hub is a free online database of UK scholarships, grants and bursaries for UK or EU undergraduate and postgraduate students. A basic sign-up allows you to search, and subscribe to a newsletter or alerts for new funding that match your profile. A premium service costs a small fee. Turn2Us is a national charity that provides practical help to people in financial need. Their website has a grant search facility. They also have helpful guidance on the information you may need if applying for a charitable grant. If you are disabled, check out the Disability Rights UK factsheet on funding from charitable trusts. If you are disabled and live in Scotland, the charity Lead Scotland has useful information on sources of relevant scholarships and bursaries.
- Careers service. If you're still at school, see if you can get help here from careers staff or guidance teachers – or check with your local careers service. They may have access to resources to search for university degree funding.
- Public libraries – especially if you have a reference library nearby. Ask your library service if they have a recent copy of The Guide to Educational Grants. This is published by the Directory of Social Change in association with the National Union of Students. It features grants from over 3,500 smaller charities in the UK.
Using your criteria do your research. Don’t apply for bursaries or scholarships as you find them; you might lose time applying for a fund that is less suitable than another whose application deadline is looming.
Instead try to do a quick burst of research and generate a list of charities, trusts or companies to approach for sponsorship, scholarships, bursaries or grants. Note down any application deadlines. Some application windows are very short – one spotted in the writing of this article was just a month long.
Now prioritise who you will apply to first. This could be an award with a deadline approaching, or one that you fit the criteria for the best.
A word of caution. If you already have financial support or means-tested benefits, double check whether additional scholarship funding will affect this in any way. Be wary also to avoid scams.
Read the application guidance carefully. As well as fitting the criteria for an award, you'll need to pitch how well you fit the criteria, as you'll be competing against other applicants. Only include information that is asked for.
Try and get a feel for why the money is on offer in the first place. You want the money to fund your university degree, but the people awarding the funding want something out of it too. Is there a commercial aspect to it, as with a company scholarship where they may be looking for a possible future employee? Or is it about giving chances in communities where historically there have been few? For this reason, you can't use the same responses for each application.
Sometimes you may need to write a statement or short essay about why you deserve an award, or about a particular topic. Stick to the question, and look at it from different angles – much as you would in an academic essay.
You may not want to apply for student loans, but be aware that some grant bodies will not consider you unless you have tried all standard sources of funding.
Avoid completing a funding application at the last minute. Plan your time well and get someone else to read over your application. Ensure your application (or essay) is easy to read and that there are no factual or spelling mistakes.
Vegetarians or Vegans in financial hardship could get a grant from the Vegetarian Charity.
The Vegetarian Charity. You must be under 26 years old and a committed vegetarian or vegan (with the references to prove it!) to get this funding. For educational grants, you can only apply when you have firm acceptance of a place at university. You'll stand a better chance of getting a grant after you've started and are actually facing financial hardship. Note that the application may take months to get processed. It offers small grants, not normally for more than £500. Grants can be given for educational courses, or for equipment you need. You can't use the money to pay off debts, or to start a business.
The George Viner Memorial Fund (run by the National Union of Journalists). Financial support is offered to UK Black and Asian students in print, broadcasting, photographic or online journalism. You'll need to show your commitment to this career. You must study an NUJ-recognised media course, and have the formal offer of a place. You must also not be receiving a student loan or other sponsorship covering the course costs. The fund can be used for course costs including tuition fees, accommodation, travel and course-related expenses.
Royal Caledonian Education Trust. If your parents are Scottish, on a low income, and served (or are serving) in the Armed Forces for a minimum of a year, RCET may provide financial support. Their college and university student's fund can contribute towards living expenses for undergraduate students – or books, special equipment and essential course materials.
The Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust. Is either of your parents (or husband, or wife) a commercial traveller, pharmacist or grocer? If so, you could get financial support for full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study. They must have been in the job for at least five years. You could get up to £3,000 for undergraduate study, depending on your financial need and the funds available that year. Postgraduate students could get up to £5,000. Funds can be used for tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses or equipment.
Holbeck scholarships (The Holbeck Charitable Trust, with the University of York). If you are a high-achieving student at school in the Yorkshire and Humber region, applying for any UK university, you may be eligible for this funding. You must also fit two of the following criteria: having lower than average family income, facing significant difficulties, or being the first in your family to go to university. You could get up to £1,250. The money is to reward hard work and can be spent as you see fit.
MinSouth, the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining in the South East of England. Final year undergraduates studying geology, mining engineering, engineering geology, or mineral processing could get up to £1,000.
Jaguar Landrover. A paid placement with Jaguar Landrover could see you getting a bursary of £1,500 on your return to university. The condition is that you go back for a further placement the following year. You can apply if you are woman studying any engineering degree, on track for at least a 2:2.
The Helena Kennedy Foundation. Have you overcome significant personal and severe financial hardship to complete a course in further education college? If you are applying for higher education, you may be eligible for a bursary of up to £2,250 for your course. You'll also be given training and mentoring, as well as work-shadowing opportunities.
The Snowdon Trust. Do you have a physical or sensory disability (such as dyslexia)? You could apply for help with additional disability-related costs that aren't fully provided for by statutory funding. This fund is open to students of all nationalities, if they have a confirmed place on a further or higher education course in the UK. Your financial details are required but the grant is not means-tested. You could get up to £3,000, and can reapply in future years. Funds can be used for personal assistance (such as note-takers), or costs related to travel, accommodation or specialist computer equipment or software. If you later gain funding for these from other sources, you'll need to refund the grant. You won't usually get financial support with fees or living costs, and can't apply for costs already incurred.