Archive Website of the UK government

Please note that this website has a UK government accesskeys system.

Archive brought to you by Cross Stitch UK

Main menu

Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Bursaries, scholarships and awards

Many universities and colleges give out financial help in addition to any student loans and grants. This money helps to pay for your living costs and tuition fees and you don’t have to pay it back. Some charities also offer funding. Find out what help you can get and how to apply.

What extra student finance is available?

If your course starts after 1 September 2012, you may be able to get money from your university or college in addition to your student loan and grant. This includes:

  • help from the National Scholarship Programme if your family’s income is £25,000 or under
  • other bursaries or scholarships from your university or college
  • help from charities and trusts

Different rules apply if your course starts before 1 September 2023 (academic year 2011/12). Full-time students can use the Student Finance Calculator to get an estimate of the loans, grants and bursaries available.

National Scholarship Programme

The National Scholarship Programme (NSP) is designed to help students with a family income of £25,000 or less. NSP awards are in addition to any other loans or grants you might apply for.

All universities and most colleges are taking part in the NSP. Each university or college has its own rules about who qualifies, and what types of awards are available.

Awards might include:

  • help with tuition fees
  • help with accommodation
  • a cash bursary of up to £1,000
  • other help

Full-time students

If you’re a full-time student the minimum value of the NSP in your first year is £3000.

Part-time students

If you’re a part-time student you can only get an NSP award to help with tuition fees. The amount you get will depend on the ‘intensity’ of study. For example, if your course is 50 per cent of an equivalent full-time course you’d get 50 per cent of the full-time NSP award.

How to apply

Money from the NSP is paid by universities and colleges and you have to apply directly to them. Contact them to find out if you qualify, how to apply and what kind of NSP funding they offer.

Financial help directly through your university or college

Most universities and colleges offer students direct financial help in addition to any student loans and grants through bursaries and scholarships. These are paid each year and you don’t have to pay them back.

Bursaries if you’re from a lower income family

If you get the full Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant and pay the maximum tuition fee, you may get a bursary. Check with your university or college.

Bursaries that all students can apply for

Most universities and colleges give out bursaries that aren’t linked to any other student finance you might get. This can be cash directly paid to you or other forms of financial help, for example discounts on accommodation or books. Talk to your student support service to find out what exactly your university or college offers and who qualifies.


Scholarships from universities and colleges often depend on your academic achievements, your family’s income, or subject of study. Ask your student support service what scholarships your university or college offers.

How to apply for a bursary or scholarship

Check with your university or college how you can apply for a bursary or scholarship.

Most universities and colleges let Student Finance England manage their bursaries or scholarships. If this is the case, you won’t need to make a separate application for a bursary or scholarship to your university or college. Instead, you apply as part of your student finance application.

Grants and awards from charitable trusts

Trusts and charities provide financial grants or awards to students. You can get advice on what’s available through your university or college or through the Educational Grants Advisory Service (EGAS).

Your public library should also have directories of charitable trusts that provide grants and awards:

  • the Educational Grants Directory
  • the Charities Digest
  • the Grants Register
  • the Directory of Grant Making Trusts

Extra help if you're leaving local authority care

If you are leaving local authority care and you’re going into higher education, you may be able to get a:

  • one-off bursary of £2,000 from your local authority
  • grant from your university or college for students who’ve been in care

For more information, speak to the student support office at your university or college or your personal adviser at your local authority.

Additional links

Simpler, Clearer, Faster

Try GOV.UK now

From 17 October, GOV.UK will be the best place to find government services and information

Access keys