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Are there bursaries and scholarships to help fund my child's higher education course?

There are bursaries, scholarships or in some cases tuition fee reductions available at many universities, but each university has different eligibility criteria - so not all students will be eligible for one.

What is a bursary or scholarship?

A bursary is usually a type of non-repayable funding that is paid to a student by the university in addition to their loan funding support. Any higher education institution that charges tuition fees of £6000 per year or more has to have some sort of bursary scheme in place. The government and universities are working to widen access to students from under-represented groups, such as students from a lower income background, students from low participation neighbourhoods, mature students or disabled students. Therefore, students that fit into one such group are more likely to be eligible for a bursary. In contrast, some universities offer bursaries or scholarships for some courses and not others, which can often reflect the demand for the course.  

How much bursary is on offer to the eligible student can also vary at each university, as well as the criteria they use to determine eligibility. Some universities offer bursaries worth a few hundred pounds per year, whereas other university bursaries can be worth one or two thousand pounds per year. It may, therefore, be worth comparing the bursaries on offer at the universities on your child's shortlist and making this one of the considerations when deciding which university to go to.

It is worth bearing in mind that universities that use household income to determine a students' eligibility for a bursary will often use the household income assessment done by Student Finance England when the student applies for their loans, in order to assess them for a bursary. Therefore, it is worth advising your child to apply for their student funding in good time, well in advance of the start of the course, especially if you think they may be eligible for an income assessed bursary. Students can apply for their funding from around February or March in the year they are due to start their course - and they do not have to have chosen which university they wish to go to in order to apply for their funding.

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