Scholarships and funding your studies

Last modified: 15 August 2016

UKCISA is not a funding organisation and we do not give grants or scholarships. 

This page provides you with introductory information on funding your studies. We have also provided you with some useful links. However, the information presented here is not definitive, and you can also talk to your chosen university or college about ways of funding your studies.


Last modified: 26 September 2016

Scholarships are normally limited in number and have specific target groups. They are also normally highly competitive and most, though not all, are aimed at postgraduate level students. For undergraduate studies, scholarships (which include bursaries and partial fee waivers) are rarer. However, a number are offered by UK universities or colleges. In most cases you will have to gain an offer of a place on a course at a UK institution before you are eligible to apply for any scholarship. Additionally, you will be expected to have investigated whether you are, firstly, eligible for Government Student Support.


General information and academic scholarships

The British Council Education UK website has a facility allowing international students, from both inside and outside the EU, to search for advice on scholarships. Additionally, the Scottish Government lists scholarships for study in Scotland and Study in Wales lists scholarships for study in the UK (including Wales). Study Portals lists scholarships in different countries including the UK.

The following bodies administer scholarships for specific groups of international students who study in the UK:

  • Chevening Scholarships – "the UK government's global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations...awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the world to study postgraduate courses at universities in the UK"
  • Marshall Scholarships – "finance young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom"
  • Commonwealth Scholarships – "The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries"

Scholarships for vulnerable groups, including asylum seekers and refugees

Helena Kennedy Foundation provides financial (and other) support to asylum seekers, those with Discretionary Leave, and family members of such people, through its Article 26 Project awards scheme. You need to meet certain eligibility criteria and you must be studying, or planning to study, on an undergraduate degree programme at one of a specific number of English universities.

Student Action for Refugees (the 'STAR Network') has compiled a list of universities and colleges offering scholarships, bursaries, fee waivers/reductions for people "still waiting for a decision on their asylum claim and for those who have been granted refugee status, Discretionary Leave to Remain and other forms of temporary leave resulting from an asylum claim".

You may also be interested to read about other bodies providing non-financial support, and lobbying for further financial support, for vulnerable groups of students:

  • Let Us Learn (part of Just for Kids Law) - the campaign "calls for a change in the law which prevents ambitious young people who are lawfully resident in the UK from being able to take up their place at university because of financial barriers";
  • Equal Access (from the STAR Network) - a national network of student groups aiming to ensure that "people in the UK seeking refugee protection have equal access to higher education and can join us at university as equals";
  • Coram (CLC) Children's Legal Centre - factsheets and legal advice, in the 'Access to further and higher education' section.

Government Student Support

Last modified: 16 August 2016
Student Support consists of loans/grants for study and living costs. It is available only to students who meet a number of criteria; which are decided by the relevant government department in the UK country where you usually live. There are a number of categories of eligible student, and the regulations can be quite complicated. We provide summaries of these regulations in our Student support section.

Claiming welfare benefits or working

Last modified: 16 August 2016

This information is for you if you entered the UK under the Tier 4, or Student, Immigration Rules.


Can I claim welfare benefits?

Your immigration conditions will prevent you from claiming most welfare benefits or tax credits.

Can I fund my studies with my work income?

You should plan to be able to pay your tuition fees and living costs without having to work in the UK.

If you need to make an extension immigration application in the UK, and you have been working lawfully within your existing work restrictions, you can use your UK earnings to show that you can meet the maintenance requirements for the further period of immigration permission. Can you work?

You should not plan in advance to rely on money earned from working in the UK:

  • It can be difficult to find work
  • It is unlikely that you will earn enough to cover all your costs
  • You might lose your job
  • You might have problems with your studies if you spend too much time working

Can I take a gap year and work full time?

Not while you are in the UK with Tier 4, or Student, permission. Find out what to do if you are thinking of leaving or interrupting your studies.