Understanding Bursaries: Paying for Education

Financial aid is essential for providing accessibility to higher education for students from all economic backgrounds. One of the most prominent forms of financial aid is the student bursary. In this article, we will discuss what a student bursary is, how to find one, and how to apply for one.

What is a Bursary?

A student bursary is a type of scholarship designed to provide financial support for students who are unable to cover the cost of their education, even with the help of their parents. Bursaries are need-based, meaning the main focus of the bursary committee is to assess the student’s financial situation. They may also be given to encourage certain groups to pursue higher education, such as those from disadvantaged backgrounds or underprivileged areas. No matter the exact nature of the bursary, they are typically all aimed at promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Typically, if the student’s parents are able to bear the expenses of their child’s education, the bursary may not be awarded, regardless of the student’s academic performance. The amount awarded for a bursary depends on the household income; the higher the income, the lower the amount of the bursary will be.

It is important to note that a bursary is not the same as a loan. Bursaries are funds given to students to pay for their education that do not need to be paid back, unlike a student loan which is typically paid back with a higher interest rate. Additionally, bursaries, grants, and scholarships have different criteria and functions while all serving a similar purpose. When comparing bursaries vs scholarships, scholarships are typically awarded based on merit, such as academic achievement or volunteer work, while bursaries are need-based, and grants are typically given for specific fields or project opportunities.

Where Can I Find Bursaries?

To find a student bursary, the best place to start is by checking the website of the college or university you wish to attend. Since they are the primary source of information for their students, the website will usually have information on bursaries available. Additionally, most institutions have a financial aid office where you can find out more about the bursaries on offer or ask for advice. If the information is not clear, contact the admissions office to inquire about bursary programs.

When applying for a student bursary, it is important to carefully read the eligibility requirements and follow the application guidelines. Submit your application to the college or university offering the bursary program and make sure to meet any age requirements. It’s also important to provide any necessary documentation such as proof of income or academic transcripts.

Tips for Getting Bursaries

  1. Start your search early – Bursaries are usually limited and competitive, so it is important to start researching as soon as possible.
  2. Search every website for bursaries online – There are many websites dedicated to providing information about bursaries, scholarships, and grants. Utilizing these sites can help you find the right program for you.
  3. Don’t be afraid to apply multiple times – Applying for several different bursary programs increases your chances of being awarded a grant or scholarship.
  4. Follow up on applications – Make sure to follow-up with any application process to ensure that all information has been received and that everything is in order before the deadline.
  5. Keep organized records– Make sure to keep copies of all applications, transcripts, and documents submitted for your bursary application. This will help you stay organized and track the progress of your application.


In conclusion, a student bursary is a form of financial aid designed to provide support for students who are unable to cover the cost of their education. To find a bursary program, check the website of the college or university you wish to attend or use websites like GrantMe to find a program that matches your needs. When applying for a bursary, make sure to read the eligibility requirements and provide any necessary documentation carefully. With the right approach, a bursary can help make higher education accessible to all students.

Leave a Reply