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THE UK: Student Finances - Must read

Scholarships to launch your UK study abroad journey

There are a wide variety of funding options for international students looking to study in the UK. We investigate some of the scholarships on offer, the application process and what qualities are needed to be awarded financial support.

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When students make a list of their top study abroad destinations, there’s little doubt that the UK occupies a very high ranking. With world renowned institutions and a reputation for an excellent quality of education, many applications are made each year to begin an academic adventure in the country. Often these applications rely on securing that all important funding in the form of a scholarship or a grant. There is no escaping the fact the tertiary education in the UK is relatively expensive, with the cost of tuition and accommodation occupying the largest portion of expenditure. In addition, there is the general cost of living to figure into the equation, which also comes with a significant price tag.


While its important to be pragmatic about the reality of the costs, it’s equally important not to allow this to deter you in putting in your application. With the UK catering to significant numbers of international students there are several funding options that you can take advantage of. It’s worth keeping in mind that the selection process for students who receive funding is extremely competitive. This means taking the necessary time to put together a quality application, well within deadline. Paying attention to the small details, like who to address your application to and the criteria of a scholarship may make all the difference in whether you are successful or not.  We’ve looked at some of the notable scholarships that are available to fund your UK study abroad journey


UK Government


International students have the opportunity to apply for a select number of scholarships that are offered by the UK government. The most prominent of these funding grants is the Chevening Scholarship Programme. The programme is funded and supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations, with the aim of identifying outstanding student candidates who display leadership potential allied to academic excellence.


The Chevening Programme awards both fellowships and scholarships, with candidates being selected by British embassies and High Commissions around the globe. In some cases, partner organisations and government bodies may work with certain countries/governments to create funding opportunities for students from specific countries. Students can get more information on such options and opportunities by accessing the relevant embassy website or the Chevening Scholarship website. Chevening scholarships are primarily focused on funding postgraduate students in various fields. Full awards cover tuition fees, travel costs, living expenses, visa costs and a thesis grant (if applicable). The fellowships offered are designed to support career professionals who are aiming to develop their professional skills and knowledge, through programmes offered at UK institutions.



In order to qualify for a scholarship you’ll need to have maintained a high academic standard, with a bachelor’s qualification that’s equivalent to a UK second class honours (2:1) as a minimum. Further, if English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate the relevant level of proficiency.  One of the critical elements to remember is that eligibility is conditional on proof of your intention to return to your home country upon completion of your qualification. Applications for the scholarship are usually made at the same time as your university qualification and you are going to need to nominate three courses of study in order of preference.


Host University


The majority of universities in the UK have scholarship programmes that cater for international students. Academic merit is usually the primary criteria for the award of scholarships and having an exemplary academic record is advantageous for students in receiving funding. With the bar set particularly high, the competition can be intense and it’s a good idea to always start early on an application. Further, mentioning information that may help you stand out from other candidates is always a good idea. This can be everything from voluntary work and community projects all the way through to skills and work experience.  You’ll find that applications for scholarships and funding usually coincide with university applications, which is convenient, but does mean a bit of extra paperwork to complete. It’s critical that you double check on your chosen institution’s website for the finer details of the application process, such as costs prior to an award of a scholarship or provisional acceptance pending finance.



Browse UK scholarship programmes




Funding companies and bodies


Funding and scholarship programmes are also offered by a significant number of organisations, councils, companies and funding bodies that are all geared towards providing financial backing for international students. One example is UK Research and Innovation, who have a variety of funding options available across a range of different disciplines and subjects, particularly for postgraduate studies.


Finding funding opportunities that are offered by organisations and companies isn’t as challenging as you may imagine. They can be found by making use of a number of dedicated and bespoke scholarship and funding websites, such as the Scholarship Hub and the Postgraduate Funding Guide. Don’t forget that you can also search for funding opportunities and scholarships by using our scholarships search page.  




Women Techmakers Scholars Programme


The Google backed Women Techmakers Scholars Program provides funding for female undergraduate and postgraduate students in technology related fields, most notably computer science. This is in keeping with the work of the late Dr Anita Borg, who advocated for the increasing participation and representation of women in the world of technology.  To apply for the scholarship, you’ll need to be presently enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate programme focusing on computer science, computer engineering or informatics. Further, the scholarship is specifically aimed at students from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


Applications for the scholarship need to be made online, so having all the required documents in digital form is a must. In addition to being able to demonstrate a strong academic background, you’ll also need to be able to illustrate your leadership qualities and contribution to diversity. The scholarship is a one-time award of EUR 7000, with previous recipients of Google scholarships being ineligible for re-awards. Successful candidates will also have the opportunity to network with fellow scholars at a Techmakers retreat and will have access to a variety of professional development opportunities over the course of the award.  


ICE QUEST Undergraduate Scholarship


The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) & Queen’s Jubilee Scholarship Trust (QUEST) scholarship is aimed at undergraduate engineering students who wish to pursue studies in the UK. The award applies to institutions that offer ICE accredited degrees and is underwritten by civil engineering and construction firms. As part of the scholarship you’ll be working for the sponsoring company during your vacations, which is a great way to gain professional experience in the engineering firm. Further, upon graduation, working for the scholarship sponsoring company is also a distinct possibility. Awards are up to the amount of GBP 8000 over the course of undergraduate study.


The application process requires you to be able to demonstrate your dedication to civil engineering allied to strong academic ability and leadership skills. A good UK A-level equivalent qualification and English language proficiency are pre-requisites for the award of the scholarship. The process also involves nominating five companies you would like to work for, and if you are shortlisted, an interview. QUEST also offers other scholarships in the field and it’s advised to check the details and requirements on the website.

Now that you have some insights into the possibility and potential that exists for funding your studies, it may be worth having a look at some of the courses and institutions on offer in the UK.

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