Financial support from your university

This page is about bursaries, scholarships and other financial support available from universities and colleges. For information about loans from the Government go to

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.

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. The  Money Saving expert website explains all this in detail, if you want to know more.

How much will I get?

This depends on your university or college, your family/household income and (sometimes) who you are and what you’re doing – for example, a university might have special funds available for students who’ve been in foster care, or fee waivers for people studying a particular subject. Each university or college decides on its own criteria for financial support and the amounts they give vary widely, so it’s not possible to give even a ballpark figure.

It’s always worth claiming a bursary, even if you’re only eligible for a small amount each year. It’s free money! 

How can I find out what different universities/colleges are offering?

A good place to start is the Student Finance England Student Finance Calculator.

You’ll also find bursary and scholarship information on university and college websites, usually on a page called ‘Fees and Funding’ , ‘Student Finance’  or something similar.

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?

In most cases, all you need to do 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. The Student Loans Company will then tell your university or college your bank details and your bursary will arrive in your bank account.  

Beware: there’s a box on the form under the Student’s Declaration or Parents’ Declaration which you can tick if you don’t want to share your personal details. If you or your parents tick this box, you won’t get your bursary. If you’ve ticked it and you want to change that, call the Student Finance office for your country (click here for a list of contact details).

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’ll 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.

If you haven’t received a bursary and you think you are eligible, contact the student finance office at your university or college. You’ll find contact details on its website.

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.

Want to know something else?

If you haven’t found the answers to your questions here, they might be on our Frequently asked questions page or in our glossary.