The Scholarship Hub, questioned 20 leading organisations*, offering scholarships, grants or bursaries to UK students, including the Royal Television Society, the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation and the Millford Haven Port Authority, and found they often struggle to get enough suitable applicants. Contributor Karen Kennard, Founder – Scholarship Hub.
Half (10 out of 20 organisations) said they had to work quite hard to attract applicants, often having to extend deadlines and almost a third (seven out of 20) 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,” she said.
Of the organisations questioned, eight (40 percent) offer scholarships for charitable purposes, seven (35 percent) to nurture new talent for their industry and three (15 percent) for marketing purposes – with two (10 percent) stating a combination of reasons. As well as tuition fees, which now stand at up to £9250 per year in England, students face living costs of up to £820 a month, and are increasingly being forced to take part-time jobs or be supplemented by the bank of Mum and Dad to plug the difference.
Michael Truckle, from Bracknell, is a Lloyds scholar and is studying Accounting and Finance at Warwick University. “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,” he said. As a Lloyds scholar he received a bursary of up to £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.”
Examples of scholarships offered by external organisations
Royal Television Society Bursaries: Bursaries worth £1,000 a year to students studying television production, broadcast journalism or technology subjects who are keen to pursue a career in television.
Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust: Up to £3,000 a year for students undertaking their first degree who have a close family member who is a Commercial Traveller, Chemist or Grocer.
Women’s Scholarship from the Center for Cyber Safety and Education: Worth up to $40,000 this scholarship is open to women worldwide who are pursuing a degree with a focus on cybersecurity or information assurance.
BeArt Presets Scholarship: Open to Year 13s who have accepted a place at university, current undergraduates and postgraduates. Applicants have to answer the question “How The BeArt Presets Academic Scholarship will impact your life?” Worth $5,000.