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Student Grants, Scholarships and Bursaries: Everything You Need to Know

Student Grants, Scholarships and Bursaries: Everything You Need to Know

Student Grants, Scholarships and Bursaries: Everything You Need to Know

As you enter the world of university, so too, do you enter the world of finance. Plenty of students make their way to university without knowing the differences between a Grant and a Scholarship, or if they are eligible or how to pay them back if they need to be. Luckily, we’ve got a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about Student Finance regarding; Grants, Bursaries and Scholarships, so take a look below and learn more!

What are the Differences Between a Grant, a Scholarship and a Bursary?

There are a few key differences between the three. Simply put, Scholarships essentially act as money awarded to an individual for their academic performance (Anything from high grades or exceptional performances in certain areas such as sports); Grants are money that is awarded to you based on high grades and any financial hardships that you or your family may be facing; Bursaries are only ever awarded to those based on their financial needs and does not take into account academic achievements. The differences can be difficult to understand, especially in the differences between Scholarships and Grants, if you are unsure what category you do or do not fall into, then speak to your university and they will be sure to point you in the right direction.

Do I Have to Pay a Grant Back?

Not ordinarily no. That’s not to say that people haven’t had to pay them back at some point in their lives, but these are rarely paid back, purely because the idea of a grant, is that it is awarded to you based on both financial hardship (Which would often necessitate the idea of paying it back) and your overall academic performance.

Do I Have to Pay a Bursary Back?

No. Bursaries, are aimed at those that are looking to have money earmarked for specific issues, such as childcare, financial hardship or carers. These are competitive, however, the lines for Bursaries can run into the thousands and unfortunately, given the sheer number of applicants and the amount of money involved in a bursary, it is operated on a first-come-first-serve policy.

Do I Have to Pay a Scholarship Back?

This depends on those that are offering a Scholarship. As with a grant, it is unlikely that you would ever be asked to pay back a Scholarship, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t happen. A Scholarship, will usually mean you have to pay it back by working for the company or organisation that has provided the Scholarship, also, you may want to check out the guidelines for your Scholarship, also, it will take longer for you to complete your Scholarship, as you will be working a lot of the time. Scholarships can often be compared to a contract, the universities will have different obligations in place that have to be met

What is an SSG?

An SSG is a Special Support Grant. A Special Support Grant is eligible for people for all around the country and it is mainly aimed at you if you’re on income support or if you’re on housing support, it can also be used for people if you are a single parent or if you have a disability – attending university with a learning difficulty will a slight differences when applying to university. As a result of this, there is a possibility that you can swap your Maintenance Grant for a Special Support Grant. The difference between them for this is that you’ll get the same pay that you would normally get from a Maintenance Loan, however, it won’t reduce the amount of Loan that you can actually apply for, and it also won’t affect your benefits, either, which is great, too! To be eligible for an SSG, you need to meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are a single parent.
  • Your partner or spouse is at university.
  • You are claiming or able to claim income support or a housing benefit of any kind.
  • You have a disability.

How Much Money Do You Get in an SSG?

However much money you get for your Maintenance Loan will be matched in your SSG.

What is a Travel Grant?

A Travel Grant is exactly what it says on the side of the tin. A University Student Travel Grant is designed to help you to travel. It is aimed to help students that have placements that are part of their university course and travel is too much, so a Travel Grant will be opened for you, so don’t let a course having a placement put you off with the extra travelling costs. Also, if your course requires time spent studying abroad, then you will be granted a Travel Grant to help out. Although to be eligible for a Travel Grant, you will need to meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You are a UK resident, or meet the UK’s residency rules.
  • You are in a full-time university course.
  • You are required to travel abroad to study as part of your course (This can differ if you are using Erasmus Student Programme)
  • You have to travel to a placement, you do not qualify if you are already the recipient of an NHS Bursary.

Does this Limit Me to Any Mode of Transport?

It depends on what you need to be able to go to a certain place, if you need to catch the train then you will have to travel that way, but you will need to keep your receipts. If you don’t have these handy then you won’t be entitled to any sort of reimbursement. Also, don’t assume that you’re going to be having Diddy-esque travel arrangements, you will not be travelling first class to where you need to go, you will be expected to always take the cheapest option available to you.

What is a DSA?

A DSA is a Disability Students’ Allowance. DSA covers everything from obvious injuries or disabilities all the way through to mental illnesses and also to issues such as Dyspraxia, which might not be that well-known, but it can still affect people. You may not be eligible if you are already claiming any other type of grant or bursary, so be sure to check this out before you apply. But you have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for DS, such as:

  • You’re a UK student and you’re eligible for Student Finance.
  • You have a long-term condition that requires funding.

Do I Have to Pay Back My DSA?

Luckily, not you don’t. A DSA is not means-tested, which means that it is suited to your situation, which means you won’t have to pay it back. Although, you may not be eligible for a DSA if you are already claiming for your disability.  

How Much Money Am I Entitled to with My DSA?

Your DSA will be going to the essentials for your study, such as any specialist equipment you may be needing and to help you when at university, so don’t think that you’ll be heading out on endless nights out courtesy of the university you’re studying at. The amounts that you can get will vary from person-to-person and also by the severity of the disability and also by the university itself, however, the maximum that you can get is:

  • General Allowance: £1,700 per-year.
  • Non-Medical Helper: £21,000 per-year.
  • Specialist Equipment: £5,200

Are Travel Expenses Still Covered if I Claim DSA?

Yes. Travel expenses are not restricted by receiving DSA.

What is a Dependants’ Grant?

A Dependants’ Grant, is a grant that is set up for those that have a financial responsibility for other people. The money available can fluctuate depending on the area of the country that you happen to be studying in. If you are eligible for Student Finance, if you’re financially responsible for anyone or if your household income is below a certain threshold, then you can qualify for a Dependants’ Grant.

How Much Does a Dependants’ Entitle Me To?

A Dependants’ Grant can all depend on the current household circumstances. A Grant will mainly cover up to three different elements, those are Childcare, Parent’s Learning Allowance (This is known as a Lone Parent’s Grant in Scotland) and Adults Dependants’ Grant. Typically, these will be handled as such:

  • Childcare: If you have one child, you will be expecting money to be around the £145-a-week mark, although this can change if you have more children. In Scotland, the cost is slightly more. Student finance in Scotland works differently from England and the rest of the UK, anyway. 
  • Parent’s Learning Allowance: You can expect around £1,500 per year for this.
  • Adults Dependants’ Grant: If you are responsible for the full-time care of another adult, you are entitled to around £2,700 per year.

What is an NHS Bursary?

An NHS Student Bursary is a fund that is offered to students that are studying a degree within the remit of healthcare. This can be a difficult area, as many different bursaries and grants are disappearing rapidly and there are very few alternatives coming in to help students looking for a career in the NHS. And you are entitled to around £1,000 per year in this bursary.

What is an SWB?

SWB stands for Social Work Bursaries. This is just as confusing as an NHS bursary, in that there are some areas of the country that don’t even recognise it! Madness. What’s more, is that many universities have started capping the bursaries to the point where it’s almost pointless even taking one out!

How Much Can I Be Entitled to with an SWB?

Without caps, the fees can be somewhat lucrative for what you need, you can be entitled to around £4,500 per year and any travel arrangements.

What is a Teaching Grant?

If you’re studying to become a teacher or you are doing a teacher training degree, you still can access the same student finance initiatives as everyone else. Although these can be difficult to get a hold of as well. The money itself is a bit washed up, however, in that the government and most universities offer little to no monetary reimbursements to those looking to study to become teachers. With these sorts of things you’re better off trying to find a Scholarship deal of some sorts before actually signing up, this is the best way for you to have money for your course. A University Teaching Grant, will help you out a lot, trust us on that! 

So there you have it! The really quite boring world of Bursaries and Grants, although if you find yourself with some extra help in terms of money, then it’s worth the research and reading. Bursaries and Grants are difficult to understand, so we recommend that if you need to know what you’re doing and whether or no you’re entitled to any Bursaries, Grants and/or Scholarships, then you need to get in touch with your university, as always, good luck!


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