The cost of completing a degree can be expensive. However, the financial burden might not be so worrying if you go to university with a scholarship. But what is a university scholarship, and how do you get one? Scholarships are given out by universities and are often dependent on your achievements in academics, sports or music. A large proportion of students either don’t know about the scholarships available at their chosen university, or they simply can’t be bothered to apply. Yet, by doing so, they are potentially missing out on free and easy cash that doesn’t have to be paid back! Here is all the information you need to know about university scholarships and how to apply.

What is a scholarship?

Scholarships are there to help students with tuition fees and the cost of living at university. There are no specified criteria for what the money must be spent on, however, the idea is that you will spend the money wisely (not just as extra cash for a night out!)

How scholarship money is paid out differs on the institution. For example, some universities might give you a one-off annual payment, or they might split the money and give you some each term. In terms of tuition fees, some scholarships will cover the cost completely, while others might give you a significant reduction. Either way, you will not see this money, as it will go straight to your university.

What are the requirements for obtaining a scholarship?


Again, the requirements for getting a scholarship will depend on which university you choose to go to. Generally, scholarships will be awarded depending on your academic achievements, sporting achievements, musical talents or if you wish to study a particular subject.

Scholarships for specific degree subjects are similar to academic scholarships and are commonly funded by external companies and charities. Not every university will offer this type of scholarship, so make sure to ask at your open day!

Why should I apply for a scholarship?

If you think you would be eligible for a university scholarship, the decision of whether to apply or not should be a no brainer. Here are just five reasons why scholarships are worth applying for:

  1. You don’t have to pay the money back. Scholarship money is essentially free money for all your hard work in achieving an excellent standard in sports, academics or music. Who doesn’t want free money?
  2. There are more scholarships available than you might initially think. Even if you don’t think you’d be eligible for a scholarship, there might still be something for you. Check out The Scholarship Hub for a full list of the ones available.
  3. A small proportion of students apply for scholarships, so your chances of obtaining one are good. UCAS has reported that less than a third of 2019/20 freshers applied for a scholarship or a bursary, so they are really worth applying for.
  4. You will end up with less debt at the end of university. The money you get from your scholarship will mean that you become less reliant on your maintenance loan from the government, which you will have to pay back eventually.
  5. A scholarship could open more doors to a future career. If you have an academic or specific subject scholarship, it could bring about more opportunities for work experience or even a graduate job at the end of your studies.

What is the difference between a scholarship, a grant and a bursary?

Scholarships, grants and bursaries are all ways of getting a little bit of extra cash while at university.

While scholarships are often allocated depending on academic, sport or musical talents, grants and bursaries have different criteria. Grants and bursaries are for students from low-income families and are consequently awarded depending on financial status or personal circumstances.

Bursaries are often given out by universities and employers or organisations to support young talent in your area of study. However, grants are offered by charities and trusts that represent underrepresented groups.

Where can I apply for a scholarship? 


If you would like to find out whether there is a scholarship available to you at your chosen university, make sure to check out their website for further information.

Alternatively, if you are going to be picking a university depending on what scholarships are on offer, visit The Scholarship Hub and sign up for free to find out more.

You can also search for scholarships available in the UK here

You can search by course to see if scholarships are available.

If you’re looking for postgraduate scholarships search here.