Grants, Bursaries & Scholarships

This section is all about grants, bursaries and scholarships that are available to students. These are free pots of money that do not need to be paid back. Make sure you know all the figures in blue. 

VIDEO- This gives a very clear breakdown of the pots of money available to students. 

Special Support Grants

If they get or qualify for Income Support or Housing Benefit they may get the Special Support Grant instead of the Maintenance Grant. The amount they can get through the Special Support Grant is the same as that available through the Maintenance Grant.

Students are likely to qualify for the Special Support Grant if:

  • they’re a single parent
  • their partner is also a student
  • they have certain disabilities

If students get the Special Support Grant, it won’t affect how much they can get through the Maintenance Loan. It will also not be counted as income when working out if they’re entitled to income-related benefits or tax credits.

Disabled Student’s Allowances (DSAs) 

As a higher education student living in England, you can apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if you have a disability, including a:

  •         long-term health condition
  •         mental health condition
  •         specific learning difficulty, eg dyslexia

You must also:

  •        be an undergraduate or postgraduate student (including Open University or distance learning)
  •        have a condition that affects your ability to study
  •        qualify for student finance from Student Finance England
  •        be studying on a course that lasts at least a year

How much you get depends on your individual needs – not your household income. DSAs are paid on top of your other student finance to help you pay the extra costs you may have because of your disability. They don’t have to be repaid.

2020 to 2021 academic year

These figures are the maximum amounts – most students get less.

2020 to 2021 academic year

Type of studentSpecialist equipment allowanceNon-medical helper allowanceGeneral allowance
Full-timeUp to £5,849 for the whole courseUp to £23,258 a yearUp to £1,954 a year
Part-timeUp to £5,849 for the whole courseUp to £17,443 a yearUp to £1,465 a year

What DSAs can pay for

You can get help with the costs of:

  •        specialist equipment, for example a computer if you need one because of your disability (You pay the first £200)
  •        non-medical helpers
  •        extra travel because of your disability
  •        other disability-related costs of studying

 You can’t get DSAs from Student Finance England if you’re:

  •        an EU student
  •        eligible for an NHS Disabled Students’ Allowance (this is a separate scheme)
  •        getting equivalent support from another funding source, like from your university or a social work bursary
Disabilities or long-term health conditionReport or letter from your doctor or consultant
Mental-health conditionReport or letter from your doctor or consultant
Specific learning difficulty like dyslexiaA ‘diagnostic assessment’ from a psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher – you’ll need to get reassessed if you had this done when you were under 16

How to apply

You’ll need to download and fill in a form to apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) or to claim back your expenses for the year.

Bursaries & Scholarships

Bursaries and scholarships through your university or college

  • Many universities and colleges offer extra funding that students don’t have to pay back. This includes scholarships and bursaries which are available if students meet the conditions set by their university or college. £249,786,570 is available in scholarships for UK students and tens of millions of pounds go unclaimed every year.  There are a whole range of different scholarships available and they are not just reserved for academically gifted students. 
  • All universities that are charging higher tuition fees (over £6,000 a year) have to have an Access Agreement with OFFA (Office for Fair Access) setting out how they intend to safeguard and promote fair access to higher education through their outreach work, financial support etc. It also includes targets and milestones set by the university/college itself. 
  • Students can read access agreements for their chosen university on the OFFA website here.

Scholarship examples 





Grants and awards from charitable trusts

Trusts and charities provide financial grants or awards to students. They can get advice on what’s available through their university or college or use one of the search tools listed in the Getting advice section.

Bursaries for some types of courses and careers

  • Teacher training
  • Medical and Social Work courses
  • Support from the Army

These will usually have their own application processes.

Extra help if students are leaving local authority care

If they are leaving local authority care and they’re going into higher education, they may be able to get a:

  • one-off bursary of £2,000 from their local authority
  • grant from their university or college for students who’ve been in care

For more information, students can speak to the student support office at their university or college or their personal adviser at their local authority.

SCRAPPED-National Scholarship Programme

  • This was a scheme that ran from 2012-15 and offered financial help to students coming from low-income families. 
  • There is no undergraduate funding through The National Scholarship Programme beyond the 2014-15 academic year 
  • This means that current Sixth Formers will not be able to apply for The National Scholarship Programme (as they will be going to uni in 2015-16 and beyond)
  • The money is instead going to be used to support students from less-advantaged backgrounds to access postgraduate education. 
Back to CSK Home