UK Students missing out on £150m in scholarships

UK students are potentially missing out on over £150 million scholarships according to new research.

The Scholarship Hub, a free online database of over 3,000 scholarships and bursaries questioned 20 leading institutions offering scholarships, grants or bursaries to UK students and found they often struggle to get enough suitable applicants.

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Half said they had to work quite hard to attract applicants, often having to extend deadlines and almost a third said they get less than 50 applicants.  Only two said they got a good response. 

One of the barriers for organisations is the problem of raising awareness among students, with 14 out of 20 citing universities’ reluctance to promote external scholarships as a key factor in this.

Karen Kennard, founder of the Scholarship Hub, a social enterprise, said: “Students thinking it’s not worth their while applying for scholarships might be surprised to hear that organisations are often struggling to give away this ‘free money’ and, in many cases, the low number of applicants means your chances of getting one are pretty high.

“Scholarships, grants and bursaries are not just for disadvantaged students. Funding is offered for a wide range of reasons from academic merit and financial need, to musical and sporting talent, personal circumstances such as where you come from or what your parents do and awards for recognition of your involvement in the community.” 

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Michael Truckle, from Bracknell, is a Lloyds scholar and is studying Accounting and Finance at Warwick University, he said:  “Being a Lloyds scholar has been invaluable to me.  It has helped me in several ways from gaining a summer internship to improving my prioritisation skills and ultimately making sure I enjoy every second at university. The programme has been extremely valuable and I couldn’t recommend it more.”

As a Lloyds scholar he received a bursary of £2000 a year, access to a mentor and two summer internships.

Aya Helmy, from Belfast in Northern Ireland, was awarded the Belling Scholarship for Engineering in 2014, which gave her £3,000 a year towards her degree at the University of Cambridge.  “The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) scholarship provided me with financial security and gave me opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise, including a summer internship.”

Of the organisations questioned, 40% offer scholarships for charitable purposes, 35% to nurture new talent for their industry and three 15% for marketing purposes – with 10 % stating a combination of reasons.

UniversityWeb editor