What Are the Differences Between Scholarships and Bursaries

Studying at university in the UK can be expensive. Therefore, some applicants decide to look into funding options which can help them afford to study at university, or at the very least reduce the financial strain. Regardless of what your situation is though, you may be interested in applying for scholarships and bursaries. What are the differences though? Do they mean the same thing? We’ve put together the following explanations to help you understand these different funding routes.


Scholarships are typically financial awards (i.e. cash) which students are awarded based on their academic performance or some other form of achiement. This normally means achieving high grades, but can also be available to an applicant who has excelled in an activity like sport. Examples of scholarships are:

Four scholarships to cover tuition fees and provide a maintenance stipend of £6,000 per annum for a student from the UK joining LSE on any undergraduate programme of study.

The scholarships are open to prospective full-time undergraduate students in any subject area for each year of a three-year course (subject to satisfactory progress).



Bursaries tend to be awarded based on the student’s financial needs. When evaluating the financial needs of a student, it is common for the awarding body, for example the university, to consider the wealth and income of the student’s family. This is simply because most students, particularly at undergraduate level, have little or no income and savings. Therefore, besides getting a job and any loans which are available, the theory is that family should be the next line of support. For those whose families are not as well off, bursaries can play an important role

This does not mean that academic standards for courses are lowered, but rather a bursary aims to help ensure that a course is more accessible to all students.

Examples of bursaries are:

The King’s Living Bursary scheme is open to every full-time home undergraduate student who has been means-tested with a final income assessment of £42,620 or less, on the £9,000 tuition fee rate.

The Manchester Bursary is available to any UK student who is registered on an eligible* undergraduate degree course at The University of Manchester and who has had a full financial assessment carried out by Student Finance. This bursary is additional to the government package of maintenance grants.


If you are still unsure about whether you can apply for a scholarship or bursary, you can email us with your question at universityconsultant [ at ] goenrol.com .