Bursaries are financial assistance programmes awarded to students to aid them to undertake or complete study programmes at a higher institution successfully. Target groups are usually students who cannot afford costs associated with their studies. Some bursary programmes focus on students from educationally disadvantaged, marginalised communities and other social backgrounds. Like scholarships and grants, bursaries do not require students to pay back.
Bursaries are awarded across all levels of education, from undergraduate to graduate studies programmes, with different terms and conditions. In certain instances, bursary programmes may offset a fraction of study costs. Other times, the bursary award may also cover additional costs pertaining to studies such as living allowance, housing, healthcare, stationery materials. Such awards may be characterised by clauses, which may mandate work engagements with the awarding institution upon the completion of studies. Eligibility requirements vary according to the bursary programme.
The Immerse Education Bursary Programme, for instance, is tied to a specific age, institutional, geographical and course clauses. It involves the submission of multimedia files, which illustrate the candidate’s motivation for applying for the bursary award, and documents that attest to their financial background for verification.
Bursary programmes can also be offered based on strong academic performance. This sort of programme expects candidates to meet certain grade requirements to be considered for an award. Applicants may also be required to submit statements of results indicating their cumulative grade point average to the funding organisation or institution. Alternatively, certain programmes can also restrict sponsorship to certain courses and academic fields of study and categories of students.
Searching for bursaries
Information on available bursary programmes is typically accessible through a number of channels. The most common place to look is the university or higher institution of study. A recently published survey by the University and Colleges Admission indicates that the majority of students studying at British universities get their information on bursary opportunities from their University.
Universities and higher institutions typically host a number of funding opportunities and bursary awards for students. Information may be published locally on-camp (information and notice boards) or electronically on official institutional sites.
Corporate organisations and companies are also a good place to turn to. This is because these groups often host financial assistance programmes designed to attract and train educational talent in their various fields. Certain non-governmental and civil society groups may also fund assistance programmes for international students based on various reasons, such as empowering access to wider opportunities.
International students may also consult online databases which provide information on country/region-specific and global funding opportunities. These databases include the following sites:
- Official European Union Scholarship Site (https://ec.europa.eu/info/education/study-or-teach-abroad/scholarships-and-student-finance/find-scholarship_en), this site avails information on funding opportunities available for international students in Europe.
- www.studyinaustria.at- this site offers information on funding opportunities available for international students in Austria.
- www.studyindenmark.dk- this site offers information on funding opportunities for international students in Denmark
- www.campusfrance.org- this site covers information on grants, financial aid and funding options for international students in France. This site has an embedded tool that facilitates access to listings of financial assistance packages provided by a variety of sources, such as public universities, national and local authorities and organisations.
- www.study-in-germany.de- this site covers information on funding opportunities and options for international students undertaking or interested in enrolling for graduate studies in Germany.
- www.studyinsweden.se – this site offers information, customised according to the international student’s country of origin, on funding options and opportunities available for study programmes in Sweden.
Care must be taken, however, to avoid fraudulent bursary programmes. These programmes have proliferated within the past few years, resulting in massive financial losses for victims. It is recommended to avoid financial assistance programmes that demand processing/application fees and involve the use of unverifiable processing agents.
Applying for bursaries
The application methodology depends on the requirements specific to each bursary programme or funding institution. Applicants may need to submit additional supporting documents determined by application requirements. However, a greater number of bursary programmes may require either online or in-person submission of duly filled/completed application forms.
Below are some of the bursaries currently open for applications from international students:
Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries 2022
This bursary programme awards a maximum of 15 bursaries to international students who have secured admission into a postgraduate degree programme at any university across the world. This funding opportunity is available for full-time, part-time and distance learning study programmes.
As part of the application process, applicants submit a completed application form containing postgraduate course details and a statement indicating the candidate’s suitability for the bursary award.
Bursary awards cover tuition fee discounts. Some awards may also include living and housing stipends.
The deadline for applications is 30 September 2022. Additional information is available at https://www.postgrad.com/psuk_study_bursaries_apply/
Kingston University, Jamaica, Loyalty Bursaries
The Kingston University Loyalty Bursaries is awarded to international students. It is comprised of three awards: alumni discount, family bursary, study abroad/summer school/exchange bursary. Alumni discount award covers 10% of tuition fees for students who hold a bachelor’s degree from the University and are applying to undertake graduate degree studies at the University. The family bursary award offers a 10% discount on tuition fees for international students who are currently or previously enrolled at the University. Study abroad, summer school and exchange student bursary offer 10% discounts of tuition fee charges to international students who have completed a study abroad, summer school or exchange prior to applying for a placement in an undergraduate and graduate degree programme at the University.
Information on deadlines and application procedures can be accessed via https://www.kingston.ac.uk/international/funding-and-fees/scholarships/loyalty-bursaries/.
Michael Wong Pakshong Bursary
Eligible candidates for this bursary award are international students who have applied for a master’s degree programme in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, the University of Bristol, for the 2022 academic year. The bursary offers a one-time award of 3000 British Pounds to be used for offsetting living costs.
The bursary programme has two rounds of application. The first round closes on 28 March 2022, while the second round closes on 13 June 2022.
Information on the application procedure is available at http://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/support/finances/scholarships/wong-pakshong-bursary/.