How can international students get scholarships and bursaries to UK boarding schools? - Academic Families


Welcome to the world of scholarships and bursaries in the United Kingdom. In this blog post, we will explore how to apply for and successfully obtain scholarships and bursaries to support your education and career goals. Scholarships and bursaries can be a valuable source of financial aid, helping you pursue your dreams without the burden of excessive student loans. Let’s dive into the process and uncover the opportunities that await you.

Understanding Scholarships

Difference Between Scholarships and Bursaries - Leverage Edu

Scholarships are financial awards provided to students to assist in covering the costs of their education. They are typically offered based on various criteria, including academic merit, financial need, extracurricular achievements, and more. Understanding scholarships is essential for anyone looking to pursue higher

Types of Scholarships

There are various types of scholarships available to students in the UK. These include:

  • Merit-Based Scholarships: Awarded to students with outstanding academic achievements.
  • Need-Based Scholarships: Offered to students who demonstrate financial need.
  • Subject-Specific Scholarships: Targeted towards students pursuing specific fields of study.
  • Minority Scholarships: Aimed at underrepresented groups in higher education.

Eligibility Criteria

Scholarships have specific eligibility criteria that applicants must meet. These criteria can vary widely between scholarship programs, but common requirements include:

  • Minimum GPA or academic achievement.
  • Financial need, as assessed by a means test.
  • Enrollment or acceptance at an accredited UK institution.
  • Citizenship or residency requirements (some scholarships are open only to UK citizens or residents).

Application Process

The application process for scholarships usually involves the following steps:

  1. Research: Identify scholarship opportunities that align with your qualifications and goals.
  2. Prepare Documents: Gather necessary documents, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a well-crafted personal statement.
  3. Submit Applications: Complete and submit your scholarship applications by the specified deadlines.
  4. Interview (if required): Some scholarships may require an interview to assess your suitability.
  5. Award Notification: Successful candidates will be notified of their awards.

Tips for a Successful Application

To increase your chances of receiving scholarships, consider these tips:

  • Start early and plan ahead.
  • Research multiple scholarship opportunities.
  • Customize your application for each scholarship.
  • Seek strong letters of recommendation.
  • Write a compelling personal statement.
  • Meet all application deadlines.

Financial Bursaries

Bursaries are another form of financial support for students in the UK. Unlike scholarships, bursaries are typically need-based and provide financial assistance to cover specific costs, such as tuition fees or living expenses. They are often offered by universities and colleges to support students facing financial hardship.

Where to Find Scholarships and Bursaries

You can find scholarship and bursary opportunities through various sources, including:

  • Your chosen educational institution.
  • Government programs.
  • Private organizations and foundations.
  • Online scholarship databases and search engines.

Understanding scholarships and bursaries is the first step towards securing financial support for your education in the UK. Whether you’re a high-achieving student or facing financial challenges, there are opportunities available to help you pursue your academic dreams.

Types of Scholarships

Chevening UK Scholarship 2023 - 2024

When it comes to pursuing higher education in the United Kingdom, scholarships can be a game-changer. Scholarships are financial awards designed to assist students in covering the costs of their education. These awards come in various forms, each catering to different circumstances and qualifications. Here’s a detailed look at the types of scholarships you might encounter:

1. Merit-Based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships are awarded to students based on their academic achievements and performance. To qualify for these scholarships, students typically need to maintain a high grade point average (GPA) or excel in standardized tests. These awards recognize and reward exceptional academic abilities.

2. Need-Based Scholarships

Need-based scholarships are geared towards students who demonstrate financial need. To qualify, applicants must provide evidence of their financial situation, often through a means test or documentation of family income. These scholarships aim to make education more accessible to students who may not have the financial means to cover tuition and related expenses.

3. Subject-Specific Scholarships

Subject-specific scholarships are tailored to students pursuing specific fields of study or academic disciplines. Universities and organizations offer these awards to attract talent in areas they deem important. For instance, there are scholarships available for fields like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), humanities, arts, and more.

4. Minority Scholarships

Minority scholarships are designed to promote diversity and inclusivity in higher education. These scholarships are aimed at underrepresented groups, such as ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and students with disabilities. They provide opportunities for historically marginalized communities to access education.

5. Sports Scholarships

Sports scholarships are awarded to athletes who excel in their chosen sports. These scholarships can cover tuition, accommodation, and other related expenses. Universities often have sports teams and offer scholarships to recruit talented athletes who can represent their institution in various competitions.

6. International Scholarships

International scholarships are available for international students pursuing higher education in the UK. These awards can help offset the higher tuition fees international students often face. They may be merit-based or need-based, depending on the scholarship program.

7. Research Scholarships

Research scholarships support students engaged in academic research, including master’s and doctoral programs. These scholarships often fund research projects, cover tuition fees, and provide stipends for living expenses. They are crucial for advancing academic knowledge and innovation.

8. Government Scholarships

Government scholarships are funded and administered by government agencies. These scholarships can be available at the national or regional level and may target specific fields of study, regions, or demographic groups. Examples include the UK government’s Chevening Scholarships and the Commonwealth Scholarships.

Understanding the various types of scholarships available in the UK allows students to explore opportunities that align with their qualifications, interests, and financial circumstances. Whether you’re an academically gifted student or facing financial challenges, there’s likely a scholarship suited to your needs.

Eligibility Criteria

Understanding the eligibility criteria for scholarships is crucial when applying for financial assistance in the UK. Scholarship programs have specific requirements that applicants must meet to be considered for awards. While these criteria can vary from one scholarship to another, there are common factors to consider:

1. Minimum Academic Standards

Academic achievement is a key consideration for many scholarships. Most programs require applicants to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) or provide evidence of exceptional academic performance. This criterion ensures that scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate a commitment to their studies.

2. Financial Need

For need-based scholarships, applicants must demonstrate financial need. This often involves providing detailed financial information, including family income and expenses. Scholarships of this type aim to assist students who may not have the means to afford higher education without financial aid.

3. Enrollment or Acceptance at an Accredited Institution

To be eligible for scholarships, students generally need to be enrolled or accepted at an accredited UK educational institution. Scholarships are typically tied to specific universities or colleges, so applicants should ensure they meet the admission requirements of their chosen institution.

4. Citizenship or Residency Requirements

Some scholarships are restricted to specific groups based on citizenship or residency status. For instance, certain scholarships may only be available to UK citizens or permanent residents. International students should look for scholarships designated for non-UK citizens.

5. Field of Study

Subject-specific scholarships may require applicants to pursue a particular field of study or major. These scholarships are often linked to disciplines that are considered high-demand or have specific goals, such as advancing research in a particular area.

6. Extracurricular Activities and Achievements

Some scholarships take into account a student’s extracurricular activities and achievements. This can include involvement in community service, leadership roles, sports, or artistic accomplishments. Highlighting these achievements can enhance your eligibility for certain scholarships.

7. References and Recommendations

Letters of recommendation from teachers, professors, or other reputable individuals may be required for scholarship applications. These letters can provide insights into your character, abilities, and potential for success, strengthening your candidacy.

8. Specific Demographic Considerations

Certain scholarships target specific demographics, such as women in STEM, LGBTQ+ individuals, or students with disabilities. If you belong to one of these groups, there may be scholarships tailored to your unique experiences and goals.

It’s essential to carefully review the eligibility criteria for each scholarship you intend to apply for. Meeting these requirements is the first step toward a successful scholarship application. Be sure to gather all necessary documentation and present a compelling case that demonstrates your suitability for the scholarship.

Application Process

Applying for scholarships in the UK can be a competitive and sometimes complex process. Understanding the steps involved is essential to increase your chances of success. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the typical scholarship application process:

1. Research Scholarship Opportunities

Research is the first and crucial step in the scholarship application process. Begin by identifying scholarship programs that align with your qualifications, academic goals, and field of study. Look for scholarships offered by universities, government agencies, private organizations, and foundations. Websites, scholarship directories, and college financial aid offices are valuable resources for finding opportunities.

2. Prepare Required Documents

Most scholarship applications require specific documents to be submitted. These may include:

  • Transcripts: Official academic transcripts showcasing your academic achievements.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Typically, two or three letters from teachers, professors, or mentors who can vouch for your abilities and character.
  • Personal Statement or Essay: A well-written essay detailing your background, goals, and why you deserve the scholarship.
  • Resume or CV: Highlighting your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and any relevant work experience.
  • Proof of Citizenship or Residency: Required for scholarships with specific eligibility criteria based on nationality or residency status.
  • Financial Information: For need-based scholarships, you may need to provide financial documents, such as tax returns or a statement of income.

3. Complete and Submit Applications

Each scholarship program will have its own application form and submission process. Ensure that you carefully read and follow the application instructions. Complete all required fields, attach the necessary documents, and submit your application before the specified deadline. Missing deadlines can disqualify you from consideration.

4. Prepare for Interviews (if required)

Some scholarships may require applicants to participate in an interview as part of the selection process. Prepare by researching common interview questions, practicing your responses, and showcasing your enthusiasm and qualifications.

5. Await Award Notifications

After submitting your application, there may be a waiting period during which the scholarship committee reviews applicants. Award notifications are typically sent to successful candidates. It’s essential to monitor your email and other communication channels for updates.

6. Accept the Scholarship

If you are offered a scholarship, carefully review the terms and conditions, including any obligations or requirements. You may need to formally accept the scholarship by a specified deadline and provide additional documentation, such as proof of enrollment.

7. Thank You Letter

While not always required, it’s a good practice to express your gratitude by sending a thank-you letter to the scholarship provider. This demonstrates your appreciation and professionalism.

Remember that the scholarship application process can be highly competitive, so putting in the effort to create a strong application is crucial. Tailor your applications to each scholarship opportunity, highlighting your strengths and demonstrating why you are a deserving candidate.

Tips for a Successful Application

Securing a scholarship in the UK requires more than just meeting eligibility criteria; it demands a well-prepared and compelling application. Here are some valuable tips to increase your chances of success:

1. Start Early and Plan Ahead

Early preparation is key. Begin researching scholarship opportunities and collecting required documents well in advance of application deadlines. This will give you ample time to craft a strong application.

2. Research Multiple Scholarship Opportunities

Don’t limit yourself to just one scholarship. Research and apply for multiple opportunities that match your qualifications. Diversifying your applications increases your chances of receiving an award.

3. Customize Your Application

Customize each application to the specific scholarship’s requirements and goals. Tailor your personal statement or essay to highlight how you align with the scholarship’s mission and values.

4. Seek Strong Letters of Recommendation

Choose individuals who know you well and can write compelling letters of recommendation. Professors, teachers, or mentors who can attest to your academic abilities and character are ideal choices.

5. Write a Compelling Personal Statement

Your personal statement or essay is a critical component of your application. Clearly articulate your goals, achievements, and reasons for applying. Showcase your passion and dedication to your chosen field of study.

6. Meet All Application Deadlines

Timeliness is crucial. Missing application deadlines can result in automatic disqualification. Keep track of submission dates and submit your applications well before the cutoff time.

7. Highlight Achievements and Extracurricular Activities

Highlight your achievements, both academic and extracurricular. Use bold text or a separate section to draw attention to awards, leadership roles, community service, or other notable accomplishments.

8. Showcase Your Financial Need (if applicable)

If you’re applying for need-based scholarships, provide a clear and transparent picture of your financial situation. Include all relevant financial documents to support your application.

9. Proofread and Edit Carefully

Ensure that your application materials are free of errors. Typos and grammatical mistakes can detract from your application’s professionalism. Consider seeking the assistance of a proofreader if needed.

10. Follow Up and Stay Organized

After submitting your applications, keep track of your progress. Follow up on your applications to ensure they have been received and are complete. Stay organized with a spreadsheet or checklist.

Remember that the scholarship application process can be highly competitive, so presenting a polished and well-prepared application is essential. By following these tips and putting in the effort, you can enhance your chances of receiving valuable financial assistance for your education in the UK.

Financial Bursaries

Financial bursaries play a crucial role in making higher education accessible to students facing financial challenges in the United Kingdom. Unlike scholarships, which are often merit-based, bursaries are typically need-based and are designed to provide financial assistance to students who may struggle to cover the costs of tuition, living expenses, and other educational-related costs. Here’s a comprehensive look at financial bursaries:

Who Qualifies for Bursaries?

Bursaries are generally targeted at students who can demonstrate financial need. Eligibility is typically determined through a means test, which evaluates a student’s financial situation based on factors such as family income, assets, and household size. Those with limited financial resources are more likely to qualify for bursaries.

Types of Bursaries

Financial bursaries can take various forms, including:

  • Tuition Fee Bursaries: These bursaries cover a portion or the entirety of a student’s tuition fees, reducing the financial burden of education.
  • Maintenance Bursaries: Maintenance bursaries provide financial support for living expenses, including accommodation, food, and transportation costs.
  • Specific Criteria Bursaries: Some bursaries are awarded to students who meet specific criteria, such as being a care leaver, having a disability, or being a single parent.

How to Apply for Bursaries

The application process for bursaries varies depending on the institution and the specific bursary program. However, the following steps are generally involved:

  1. Complete the Application: Submit a bursary application form provided by your educational institution. Be prepared to provide detailed financial information.
  2. Provide Supporting Documentation: Include any necessary documents, such as proof of income, tax statements, or additional information requested by the bursary provider.
  3. Submit by the Deadline: Ensure that your application is submitted on time. Missing the deadline may result in the loss of bursary opportunities.
  4. Wait for a Decision: Bursary committees will review applications and notify successful candidates of their awards. The award amount is often determined based on demonstrated financial need.

Benefits of Financial Bursaries

Financial bursaries offer several benefits to students, including:

  • Reduced Financial Stress: Bursaries help students cover the costs of education and living expenses, reducing the need for part-time work or excessive student loans.
  • Increased Access to Education: They make higher education more accessible to a diverse range of students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Focus on Studies: With financial concerns alleviated, students can concentrate on their studies and excel academically.
  • Improved Graduation Rates: Bursaries contribute to higher retention and graduation rates as students are less likely to drop out due to financial constraints.

Financial bursaries are a lifeline for many students pursuing higher education in the UK. They serve as a valuable resource for those facing financial hardship and play a vital role in promoting educational equity and access.

Where to Find Scholarships and Bursaries

Finding scholarships and bursaries in the United Kingdom can sometimes feel like searching for hidden treasures. However, with the right strategies and resources, you can uncover numerous opportunities to support your education. Here are some key places and methods to discover these financial aid options:

1. Educational Institutions

Your first stop should be the educational institution where you plan to study. Most universities and colleges offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to both domestic and international students. Check the institution’s website or contact the financial aid office for information on available opportunities.

2. Government Programs

The UK government provides various scholarships and financial aid programs to support students at different levels of education. Explore government websites, such as the UK Government’s official scholarship page or the Student Finance England website, to learn about eligibility criteria and application procedures for government-funded programs.

3. Private Organizations and Foundations

Private organizations and foundations often offer scholarships and bursaries in various fields of study. These can include charitable organizations, corporate sponsors, and philanthropic groups. Search online directories and databases that specialize in listing private scholarships and grants.

4. Online Scholarship Search Engines

There are numerous online scholarship search engines and databases that can help you identify scholarships and bursaries that match your profile. Websites like, Fastweb, and Scholarship Search allow you to create a profile and receive personalized scholarship recommendations.

5. Professional Associations

If you are pursuing a specific career or field of study, consider exploring professional associations related to that field. Many associations offer scholarships to students who are passionate about their industry. These scholarships often come with networking and career development opportunities.

6. Community and Local Organizations

Local organizations, such as community foundations, rotary clubs, and chambers of commerce, sometimes offer scholarships to students from their communities. Contact these organizations or visit their websites to inquire about available opportunities.

7. Social Media and Forums

Online communities and forums, such as Reddit, Facebook groups, and dedicated scholarship forums, can be valuable resources for discovering lesser-known scholarships and bursaries. Engage with other students and seekers to share tips and recommendations.

8. Academic Advisors and Counselors

Academic advisors and counselors at your current school or prospective educational institution can provide guidance on scholarship opportunities. They are often knowledgeable about scholarships specific to your field of study or institution.

9. Corporate Scholarships

Many corporations and businesses offer scholarships as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives. Check the websites of companies you are interested in or inquire about scholarship programs with your prospective employers.

Remember that scholarship and bursary application processes may have different timelines and requirements. It’s essential to stay organized, create a spreadsheet to track deadlines, and tailor your applications to each opportunity. With determination and careful research, you can access the financial support needed to pursue your education in the UK.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about scholarships and bursaries in the UK:

Q: What is the main difference between scholarships and bursaries?

A: Scholarships are typically awarded based on merit, while bursaries are primarily need-based. Scholarships often recognize academic achievements, talents, or specific criteria, whereas bursaries aim to assist students with financial need.

Q: Can international students apply for UK scholarships and bursaries?

A: Yes, many UK universities and organizations offer scholarships and bursaries specifically for international students. These awards may vary in eligibility criteria, so it’s essential to research and find suitable options.

Q: Are there scholarships for undergraduate students only, or can postgraduate students apply as well?

A: Scholarships and bursaries are available for both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the UK. Many universities offer funding opportunities for various academic levels, including master’s and doctoral programs.

Q: How can I improve my chances of receiving a scholarship?

A: To increase your chances, maintain a strong academic record, actively participate in extracurricular activities, write a compelling personal statement, and apply for multiple scholarships that align with your qualifications and goals. Tailoring each application is essential.

Q: Do I have to repay scholarships and bursaries?

A: Scholarships and bursaries are typically considered “gift aid,” which means you do not have to repay them. However, it’s essential to read the terms and conditions of each award to ensure you understand any requirements or obligations.

Q: Are there scholarships specifically for students with disabilities?

A: Yes, there are scholarships and bursaries designed to support students with disabilities. These awards aim to promote inclusivity and access to education for individuals with diverse needs. Look for disability-specific scholarships offered by universities and organizations.

Q: When should I start applying for scholarships and bursaries?

A: The application timeline for scholarships and bursaries can vary. It’s advisable to begin researching and preparing applications at least a year in advance of your intended start date for your academic program. Some scholarships have early deadlines, so starting early ensures you don’t miss out on opportunities.

Q: Can I apply for multiple scholarships simultaneously?

A: Yes, you can and should apply for multiple scholarships and bursaries to maximize your chances of receiving financial aid. Just be sure to carefully read and follow the application requirements for each scholarship you pursue.

These FAQs provide a starting point for understanding scholarships and bursaries in the UK. Be sure to consult specific scholarship providers and institutions for detailed information about their programs and application processes.


In conclusion, scholarships and bursaries in the United Kingdom are invaluable resources that can make higher education more accessible and affordable for a wide range of students. Whether you’re an academically gifted student, an aspiring professional, or someone facing financial challenges, there are opportunities available to help you achieve your educational and career goals.

Throughout this blog post, we’ve explored various aspects of scholarships and bursaries, including their types, eligibility criteria, application processes, and tips for success. It’s clear that thorough research, careful preparation, and determination play pivotal roles in securing these financial aids.

Remember to start early, seek out scholarships and bursaries that align with your qualifications and interests, and craft well-tailored applications. Scholarships can reward your achievements and potential, while bursaries can provide essential financial support based on your needs.

Furthermore, we’ve highlighted the importance of exploring different sources, such as educational institutions, government programs, private organizations, and online databases, to discover these opportunities. Each avenue may lead to unique scholarships and bursaries that could significantly impact your educational journey.

In the end, scholarships and bursaries not only alleviate the financial burden of education but also empower you to focus on your studies, pursue your passions, and unlock a world of possibilities. Whether you’re a UK resident or an international student, these financial aids can be the key to achieving academic success and realizing your dreams in the UK.

We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights and practical information to navigate the world of scholarships and bursaries in the UK. As you embark on your scholarship and bursary journey, remember that persistence and diligence are your greatest allies. With dedication and the right support, you can turn your educational aspirations into reality.


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