How to Get a Bursary from a University

Historically, bursaries were the offices on college campuses where the bursar, or the financial administrator of a university, had his or her office. In recent years, however, bursaries have come to be synonymous with financial awards that are dispersed by a university to students who fall below the poverty line or students who have fallen on hard times and deserve financial assistance.

What is Required

Each bursary requires that certain tests or requirements be met. In most cases, though, to obtain a bursary, parents will be asked by their child’s university to fill out a bursary application form, which lists information such as pertinent financial circumstances that are supported by further documentation that demonstrates the student’s monetary need.
Means-Tested Bursary

At present, universities in the United States offer two different types of bursaries. A means-tested bursary is available to all students whose parents earn less per year than a threshold amount the university has set. The students with the poorest parents earn a full bursary amount. The amounts dispersed by the university become less and less the closer the student’s parents’ income gets to that income threshold. A student’s financial information is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that they are still underneath that income threshold.


The second type of bursary a university offers to its underprivileged students is called a prize or a scholarship. This bursary is based strictly on academic performance. These awards are given because the student had an excellent academic record in high school, or they meet some sort of unique social or cultural requirement. Private companies and individuals who donate to the university also participate in giving scholarships.

Applying for Scholarships

Students who are interested in earning a scholarship need to first ensure that they meet the requirements of the prize. Experts suggest that a student submit her application for a scholarship at least four months before it is scheduled to be dispersed, though most scholarships these days have application deadlines. Students interested in applying for multiple scholarships should keep all of their pertinent academic information (GPA, a list of classes taken, intended major, etc.) listed in one document for easy access and to ensure that they are filling out the applications consistently. Many scholarship applications have a personal essay portion. Consider consulting an English tutor to ensure your essay is properly proofread and effectively points out all of your assets.