Why students should think outside the box when looking for funding

We are often asked by students if there are any scholarships they can apply for and the answer is always yes, but it may not be what they were thinking.

All universities offer scholarships. None of them offer scholarships for every subject, so unless you are studying a subject where the university is trying to encourage widening participation, attract high flying applicants or they have been awarded a donation for a specific course, you are not guaranteed by any means to find a scholarship related to your course.

However,  it is really important for students to think outside of this box when looking for funding. Just because there are no specific scholarships related to your course, does not mean that there are no scholarships out there for you. And when we use the word scholarships, we are talking generically to include grants and bursaries too.

There are so many different reasons why scholarships are awarded so unless you are aware of this, you could be missing out.

Just to give you an idea, there are scholarships on The Scholarship Hub for the following reasons:

  • Financial need – you come from a low income household or a specific postcode area where university participation is low.
  • Academic merit – you have achieved high A level grades, although this does not always mean straight A*s
  • Musical merit – you have a musical talent, signing or playing a musical instrument and would be happy to perform while you study.
  • Sporting achievement – you have achieved a high level of performance in a particular sport and would be willing to compete on behalf of the university during your course.
  • Personal circumstances, such as where you live, what your parents do for a living, your religion, your social background. – There are many small charities and trusts which support students from particular backgrounds. This is where your knowledge of yourself will help you seek out specific funding opportunities.
  • For writing an essay or uploading a video – yes there are companies offering money for that! They are usually companies looking to promote their products or services to students.
  • Your career aspirations – many professional associations or institutes will offer scholarships to encourage and support students wishing to build in career in that industry
  • Your entrepreneurial spirit – maybe you have an idea for a business. There are companies that love to support student entrepreneurs as they may be the next Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Your community spirit – if you have done good work in your community helping particular groups of people or to support the environment there could be funds to support you while you study.

But this list is by no means exhaustive and you would be surprised by just how niche some of the funds are.

The other thing to bear in mind that not all funds are for new students. If you look once when you are applying to university and then don’t look again, you will also be missing out. Many of the scholarships open to all students are for just that, all students, regardless of the year or level of study. Some are offered to second or final year students alongside work placements and mentoring, to try and attract them to graduate employment.

So, if you just think it terms of the subject you are studying, you are clearly not going to cover all the possibilities. In fact, you are more than likely to come up with nothing.

Find additional funding

Filter, find and apply for scholarships, grants or bursaries 
via the Funding Hub on Blackbullion.

Sign up now