Applying for a Bursary
If you are interested in your child attending a private school but do not have the personal financial ability to pay all of the school fees, it's a good idea to look into the bursaries offered by most of the UK's independent schools. Different schools will award bursaries in different ways; some schools may make them available to students who apply for them while others will automatically make all students eligible when receiving information about a child's home background.Some schools may offer bursaries to children whose parents are teachers at the school. Usually, it is important to note, bursaries are not awarded based on purely academic criteria; this is their main distinction from scholarships. Indeed, bursaries are generally means-tested financial awards.
Applying for BursariesUnfortunately, there is no one single way that all schools organise their bursary schemes, so there is no definite, clear-cut way in which parents can apply to all their favourite schools for bursaries. Generally, however, the best thing to do in the first instance is to contact each school's secretary and ask about the procedures in place to apply for a bursary. Some questions to ask include; is there an exam? What kind of proof of earnings and background must we provide? What is demand like, and how many bursaries are available? What is the maximum and minimum bursary provision been? What kind of interest have you seen in bursaries this year?
The next thing to do is to consider whether the maximum bursary would enable your child to attend the school. If not, there is no point wasting your time and energy applying - especially as making an application, being successful and then having to reject it as the fees are still too high may be upsetting for your son or daughter. Remember to also take into consideration extra costs such as uniforms, textbooks, music or sporting equipment, lunches, travel fees etc.
If, however, the bursary makes the private school's fees affordable in the long-term, your next step is to apply for forms to put your family forward as potential bursary recipients. Contact the school to ask for a bursary form, and fill it in honestly and completely. Be aware that there will be no guarantees that filling in the form will result in a bursary award, since these means tested sums of money will usually be under very high demand.