Financial support from your university
This section aims to give students basic information about bursaries, scholarships and other financial support available from your university or college. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, check out our student ‘Frequently asked questions’.
Please note that OFFA only regulates financial support for English undergraduates (and some postgraduates) at English universities and colleges. We do not give out bursaries – they are awarded by individual universities and colleges.
What is available?
Nearly all universities and colleges offer bursaries and scholarships – extra money to help you with the cost of going to university/college. Bursaries and scholarships are paid annually by individual universities and colleges and you can get them on top of any student loans and grants you claim. You don’t have to pay them back.
Most bursaries and scholarships are 100 per cent cash but some universities and colleges offer part of their bursary in the form of a discounted service, for example, discounted accommodation or entrance to sports facilities. Some universities offer a card loaded with ‘virtual cash’ that you can spend on books, stationery, printing, art materials, IT products, field trips, and, in some cases, nursery and accommodation costs.
At OFFA, we use the term ‘bursaries’ to refer to money you get on the basis of your income and ‘scholarships’ to refer to awards based on other criteria, for example, academic criteria. However, many universities and colleges use the terms fairly interchangeably.
Many universities and colleges also offer fee waivers, so reducing the loan you will have to pay back when you graduate and are earning more than a certain level. However, you should be aware that, depending on how much you earn, you may never need to repay your loan in full, so fee waivers may not necessarily benefit you.
How much will I get?
This depends on your university or college and your family/household income. Each university decides on its own criteria for financial support and so you will need to visit their website to find out exactly what they’re offering and whether you’re eligible.
In particular, universities and colleges offer bursaries, fee waivers, accommodation discounts and other support through the National Scholarship Programme (NSP). The Government has recently announced changes to the NSP for 2014-15 and this might affect what you receive. More info about NSP changes.
You are also entitled to receive the ‘minimum bursary’ of £338 per year if you:
- started your course in the 2011-12 academic year or before
- are receiving the full Maintenance Grant or Special Support Grant
- are studying at an English university or college
- normally live in England (i.e. before starting your course and in the holidays).
For further information on student finance you can visit Gov.uk or The Independent Taskforce on Student Finance Information.
How can I find out what different universities are offering?
There are various ways to find out what different universities are offering. A good place to start is the Student Finance Calculator on Student Finance England.
For comprehensive information about what’s on offer, check out individual university and college websites. Bursary and scholarship information will usually be on the ‘Fees and Funding’ , ‘Student Finance’ or other similarly named page.
The Which? University website has a lot of useful information about how to find and get funding from universities and colleges.
How do I claim a bursary?
If you haven’t received a bursary and you think you are eligible, contact the student finance office at your university or college.
It’s worth claiming a bursary, even if you are only eligible for a small amount each year. It could go a good way towards covering your travel to and from uni, or could help you buy more text books. Here’s how to claim:
- In most cases, all you need to do to claim a bursary is make sure you agree to share your personal and financial information with your university or college when you fill in your Student Finance Application Form for government loans and grants. Your university or college will then use a service run by the Student Loans Company to pay your bursary straight into your bank account. If you or your parents have accidentally ticked the box under the Student’s Declaration or Parents’ Declaration refusing to share your personal details and you want to change this, contact the appropriate Student Loans Company number below:
- English students – 0845 300 5090
- Welsh students – 0845 602 8845
- Northern Irish students – 0845 600 0662
- Scottish students – 0845 026 2019.
- Some universities and colleges handle their own bursary payments. They will let you know what the process is for claiming a bursary. Often, this will simply be a case of giving them your bank details and a copy of your Student Support Notification (showing the loans and grants you will receive from Student Finance England) when you register.
When will my bursary be paid?
Individual universities and colleges choose when to make their bursary payments. Some will pay you a lump sum in your first term while others stagger their payments.
Do I need to reapply for my bursary each year?
Yes. So make sure you (and your parents if appropriate) continue to consent to share your financial information with your university/college when you fill in your Student Finance Application Form each year.