Let’s Talk About Student Grants, Bursaries and Scholarships

What Is The Difference Between Grants, Bursaries and Scholarships?

  • Student grants are offered by the government for students with specific circumstances or needs. Grants are free money that you do not need to pay back so it’s a good idea to check what is available to you and how you can apply.
  • scholarship is a type of non-repayable support, usually financial, that is awarded to students based on their academic achievements.
  • bursary or grant is non-repayable financial support offered to help students who meet specific financial eligibility criteria.

What Types Of Funding Are Available To Students?

1. Maintenance Loans

Maintenance Loans are provided by the government, and are used to cover your living costs during your time at university. The money can go towards rent, bills, food, nights out, and much more! Student Maintenance loans payments are released in three instalments throughout the year.

You could be eligible for a Maintenance Grant if you meet the following criteria:

  • You live in the UK or meet other residency requirements

  • You are a full-time student studying at university

  • Your household income is below the threshold

The quickest and easiest way to apply is online at www.gov.uk/studentfinance as soon as the application service opens. To reapply for student finance, sign in to your student finance account, and apply online as soon as the application service opens.

2. Travel Grants

You might be eligible for a Travel Grant if you are attending a clinical placement within the UK, or studying abroad as part of your course. You can apply for this type of grant at any time throughout the academic year. It’s important to keep all of your receipts for any expenses you want to claim back, as you will need to send copies of them to Student Finance. The money will be paid directly into your bank account. 

Travel expenses can be used for the following:

  • Daily travel costs while studying abroad
  • Medical insurance
  • Essential visas, vaccinations, or medical tests
  • Up to three return journeys between the UK and your placement

When you apply for student finance make sure to tell Student Finance that you will be studying abroad or on a clinical placement and they will send you a form to fill in for the Travel Grant.

3. Hardship Funds

The Hardship Fund is available to assist full-time students with tuition fees, living costs, study materials, travel costs and childcare. You are eligible for the Hardship Fund if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a full-time student

  • You can prove you have spent your finances responsibly

  • You have an attendance of 80% or higher

It’s important that you speak to your Student Guidance Services if you are struggling with your current financial situation. They will check out your bank statements to check your spending and how you have previously managed your money.

4. Dependants & Childcare Grants

If you are a full-time university student with children, you may be able to receive extra financial support to go towards childcare and your studies. You can get up to £174.22 a week for one child, or £298.69 a week for two or more children. Your household income is the income of your partner and any dependants. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to receive:

The Childcare Grant – This grant is available for students from low income households to help pay the costs of childcare during university. They may be eligible for help with their childcare costs if they:

  • are a full-time student
  • have children under the age of 15, or under the age of 17 if the child has special educational needs

The Parents’ Learning Allowance – This grant offers extra help to cover the costs of your course, study materials, and childcare. The Parents’ Living Allowance is paid directly into your bank account at the start of each term. It doesn’t usually have to be paid back unless the person leaves their course early. It is paid directly to the student on top of the other student finance they can get. This won’t affect any existing benefits.

Child Tax Credit – This is a benefit from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that helps with the costs of raising a child if you are on a low income. The amount you receive will depend on your personal circumstances and income.

5. Disabled Student Allowance

If your studies will be affected by a disability, learning difficulty or health problem, you might be entitled to extra funding on top of your Student Finance. The support you receive can go towards the costs of travel, disability assistance, or specialist equipment.

To receive this support you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are a UK resident

  • You are a student 

  • You qualify for Student Finance

  • You have a disability, medical condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty that will affect your ability to study

6. Social Work Bursary (SWB)

This bursary is available for social work students to help with course and living costs. To be eligible for this you must be studying or planning to study a university based social work course, approved by one of the following:

  • Social Work England (SWE)
  • the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC)
  • Social Care Wales
  • the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC)

You will not be eligible if a social care employer is giving you:

  • Paid time off to allow you to attend your studies
  • Payment of all or part of your tuition fees
  • Payment from a practice learning provider for undertaking placement duties for them
You will also not be eligible if you are receiving:
  • Funds through the Department for Education (DfE), except as Student Loans
  • Any other form of support for your social work training
  • Funding from a public body, government benefit agency, or you receive bursaries from your university

7. NHS Bursary & grant

If you are studying medicine, nursing, dentistry or any other healthcare related subjects, you may be able to get some extra money from NHS bursaries and grants. You could be eligible for this depending on the following:

  • where you live
  • your course
  • your household income
  • whether you’ve already had funding

For students in the UK, NHS funding support is provided by the Learning Support Fund. Since September 2020, non-repayable NHS bursaries have been made available to the most recent and continuing students in England and Wales, studying any of the following subjects:

  • Dietetics
  • Dental hygiene (level 5 and level 6 courses)
  • Midwifery
  • Nursing (adult, child, mental health, learning disability, joint nursing/social work)
  • Occupational therapy
  • Operating department practitioner
  • Orthoptics
  • Orthotics and prosthetics (level 5 and level 6 courses)
  • Paramedicine
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry/chiropody
  • Radiography (diagnostic and therapeutic)
  • Speech and language therapy

Students will receive grants worth £5,000 per year to assist with living costs and other expenses associated with their studies. These grants don’t need to be paid back until after your studies have finished. The NHS bursary is paid into your bank account in 12 equal monthly instalments and the Maintenance Loan is usually paid into your bank account at the beginning of each term.

8. Teacher training Fund

If you’re applying for a teacher training degree, you get access to the same Student Finance (grants, bursaries and loans) as other students do. You may also be able to access some extra funding in the form of teaching grants and bursaries, however  they are much harder to receive.

You could be eligible for a teaching grant or bursary if:

  • You’re studying an initial teacher training degree course or PGCE
  • You meet the subject and/or residence criteria

Top Tips To Remember When Applying For Funding

1. Apply Early! If you apply for your student finance early you will have extra time to sort out any issues that might pop up.

2. Research what funding is available to you! It’s important that you explore all funding options and make sure that the funding you are applying for doesn’t affect your maintenance loan.

3. Make sure you have submitted the right information on your forms! Any mistakes might effect your chances of receiving funding.

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