5 things you should know about student grants and bursaries
Although the Maintenance Grant for students was abolished in 2016, and turned in to a Maintenance Loan, there are still other types of grants and bursaries available, but you will have to actively look for and apply to them.
1. What are bursaries and grants given for?
Grants and bursaries are not only given for financial need. The terms scholarships, grants and bursaries are often used interchangeably but what they all have in common is that it is money that you do not have to pay back.
Here is a list of reasons grants might be awarded, based on:
• where you live
• your financial circumstances
• what your parents or sometimes other relatives do for a living
• any illnesses or disabilities you may have
• any special interests, activities or hobbies such as music, sport, drama
• religion or ethnicity
• any circumstances which present you with particular barriers to education
• if you have specific career aspirations
2. Who gives grants and bursaries?
Grants and bursaries are awarded by many different types of organisations, including the government, companies, universities, professional institutes or associations, charities and trusts.
3. How do I find suitable grants and bursaries?
It is not easy, and you will have to undertake some research to find opportunities that are relevant to your particular needs and circumstances, but once you understand what types of funding is available it will make your job easier, enabling you to focus your search on organisations which might be looking to help people like yourself.
Most grants and bursaries will not cover your full costs and typically might be in the region of £1,000, but you do not have to limit yourself to just one application. Like applying for a job, the more you apply for the more you increase you chances of getting something, but unlike a job you do not have to settle for just one. You can accept as many grants as you are offered and the more tenacious among you could go some considerable way towards funding your studies.
5. How do I apply?
Once you have found suitable grants and bursaries to apply for you will need to submit an application. It is important make sure that you tailor your application for each organisation. These charities and trusts will often have specific objectives and guidelines for giving grants and so if you understand what their guidelines are, you can show how you meet their grant giving guidelines. One letter will not fit all.
Bear in mind, when applying, that a sob story is not necessarily what they want to hear. Show how you are fighting to overcome difficult circumstances and are determined to overcome adversity, rather than going for the sympathy vote.