Scholarships and bursaries explained

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Scholarships and bursaries explained

Scholarships and bursaries – what’s the difference, is my child eligible and how do I apply?

Scholarships bring prestige and recognition to their recipients and are awarded to pupils who are particularly strong in one or more areas – academics, music, sport, art, or leadership.

Scholarships tend not to have great financial value although in some cases – sport or music – they can include additional specialist 1:1 support which is otherwise unavailable.   Typically overall fee remission is often 10% of education fees but not boarding fees.  Scholarships are not means-tested so do not depend on family income or wealth.

Most schools require scholarship applicants to attend their scholarship day so that all applicants can be assessed equally.

In most schools, a scholarship may be ‘topped up’ with a bursary if required.

Bursaries are mainly assessed on family financial means however merit clearly affects an applicant’s position on the potential award list.  Schools have different policies regarding bursary eligibility and not all are available for international students.  In all cases, parents must complete a comprehensive application including specific financial and tax detail as well as their declaration of need. Schools use this to establish each child’s specific situation. Bursaries are often re-assessed annually to ensure only the neediest receive financial support however some may be awarded for the child’s education providing they continue to benefit fully from the education.

Each school sets its own financial criteria – what they believe is reasonable for parents to afford – and award their bursaries accordingly.  Some schools prefer to have a greater number of smaller bursaries while some prefer to offer up to 110% scholarships for very needy pupils – although these awards tend to go to outstanding UK pupils who otherwise could never consider an education at their school. Some schools are able to offer greater bursary provision than others.

Bursary application timescales also vary by individual schools. However, the earlier a child’s place is confirmed, the more time parents have to complete a strong application in time for the deadline if there is one.

Unsurprisingly schools have different application age criteria – often bursaries are only awarded to senior school applicants in Years 9, 10, or 12.

There is no secret route to securing financial support for your child’s education although the more a school wants to recruit your child, the stronger their likelihood of supporting their application. Each school’s scholarship and bursary programmes are unique to them however they are all looking for students who will benefit from and add to school life.  Resources are always limited and excelling students may have an advantage as might older and UK based students.  If your child doesn’t secure financial support, don’t for a minute doubt that school still wants them – they have offered your child a place so they believe they are a great match – it’s just that, like most parents, they need you to pay the full fees.

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Good luck!

This article appears in the following categories  Education Systems, School Placement

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