Advice on Scholarships & Grants for Students

Every year hundreds of international students rely on student scholarship awarded by the British Government to help them study in the UK.

Advice on Scholarships & Grants for Students

Whilst competition is fierce for certain student scholarship as long as students are eligible – subject to the set criteria – the British council encourages them to apply.

International Student Advisor Editor asks the British Council for information on the sort of student scholarship available for international students in the UK.

Are there any scholarships for international students?

This article explains the ways that you might be able to get a student scholarship to study in Britain. Your local British Council office will be able to give you more information about applying for your student grant.

You should not travel to the UK or begin a course of studies without making sure that you have enough money to pay your academic fees and living expenses. Unless you are a European Union (EU) national, it is impossible to get a student grant once you have left your own country.

Can I apply for a Student grant?

The competition for Student grant to study in the UK is very strong. Most grant-making organisations will insist that you meet some very strict requirements and you may have to be nominated by your government to get a student scholarship from the UK government.

If you do not meet all the requirements for a student scholarship, then you will not be considered. When you apply, remember:

  • You must apply for your student scholarship at least one year before your course starts. Deadlines vary, so you must check that you know what the deadline is before applying.
  • Your application should be clear and concise. You should use the grant-making body’s application form, if it has one.
  • Many of the grant-making bodies will only give small amounts of money, which would not cover the full cost of a course.

Where do I start?

Most student scholarship for study in the UK are funded by the British Government and are paid to another government for its students, either directly or through an organisation such as the British Council.

The first thing you should do, therefore, is to contact your own Ministry of Education or Education Department, which will have details of most schemes and will also be able to advise you on your own government’s conditions for studying abroad.

You should also contact the nearest British Council office in your own country, which should have details of scholarship schemes and will also be able to give you information on educational courses and on living in Britain.

If there is no British Council office, then contact the nearest British Embassy or High Commission.

For many scholarship schemes, it is necessary to apply well in advance of the start of the course, often at least one year, and generally you must apply in your own country.

What student scholarships are available?

Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP)

Purpose: Assists Commonwealth students and academics of high intellectual calibre to study in other Commonwealth countries. Around 400 students study in Britain each year under this scheme.

Eligibility, subject, and duration: The scholarships are primarily available for study or research for postgraduate degrees at universities.

In special circumstances research study or non-university courses are considered. Scholarships for undergraduate studies are available only in the most exceptional cases.

The fellowship awards are generally for established teachers in universities or medical schools for study at postdoctoral level. They are not awarded for degree or diploma courses.

Nomination of candidates is by local committees in the Commonwealth country concerned. The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission makes final selection in the UK.

How to apply

Through the Commonwealth Scholarship Agency in the Commonwealth countries involved. Applicants should be resident in their own country at the time of application.

UK enquiries

For more information apply to: The Commonwealth Scholarship. Commission Association of Commonwealth Universities. 36 Gordon Square, London. WC1H OPF. United Kingdom

British Chevening Scholarships, funded by the FCO

Purpose: To bring to the UK present and future leaders, decision makers and opinion formers, including particularly able students from countries with which the UK’s economic relations are expected to develop. Some 2,200 new awards are available annually from a wide variety of countries.

Eligibility, subject, and duration: For study in any subject field, for those pursuing full-time postgraduate or second degree courses, or full-time research at or based in a UK institution of higher education in the public sector.

Preference to postgraduates or those already established in a career. Scholarships occasionally given for shorter, vocationally oriented courses between three and six months.

Scholarships cover all or part of the cost of the period of study. In countries receiving UK bilateral aid, the development relevance of the course is important.

How to apply

Selection of candidates is carried out by British Embassies and High Commissions in consultation with the local British Council representative. Applications must be made through the British Diplomatic Mission in the student’s country of origin.

Joint funding

Some scholarships are jointly funded with leading industrial and commercial firms and grant-giving foundations. These are often advertised locally in those countries where the awards are to be offered. Otherwise information will be available at the local British Diplomatic Mission or British Council office.

Technical Co-operation Training (TCT)

Purpose: Funded by the Department for International Development, a government-to-government scheme to develop personnel resources in developing countries by supplementing local training facilities.

The training is related to other forms of assistance under British aid programmes and linked to developmental projects. About 4,000 new awards annually. It is not a scholarship programme.

Eligibility, subject, and duration: Candidates, normally under the age of forty-five years, are nominated by their government and accepted on the basis of their likelihood of returning to positions where the training and skills acquired will have a suitable impact.

Candidates may be tested to establish their competence in written and spoken English. Training is available in a wide range of subjects in the economic, social and technical fields but not for the humanities, fine arts and cultural subjects, and is normally at postgraduate or post-experience level.

Requests for PhD level awards are subject to special scrutiny. Duration of training is usually between three months and three years. In exceptional cases, shorter or longer periods can be agreed. Awards normally cover the cost of travel, tuition fees, living expenses, books and clothes. Personal applications are not invited.

DFID Shared Scholarship Scheme (DFIDSSS)

Purpose: Jointly funded by the Department for International Development and certain UK universities, the scheme helps students of high academic calibre in developing Commonwealth countries.

Eligibility, subject, and duration: Candidates must be from a developing Commonwealth country intending to study a subject of developmental relevance, otherwise unable to pay for their studies and outside the scope of existing support schemes.

Applications are not considered from public sector employees. They must be sufficiently fluent in English to pursue immediately the course of study.

Awards will be for taught postgraduate courses. In special cases, undergraduate awards will also be available where training could not be pursued in the student’s own country or a nearby institution. Preference given to subjects related to the economic and social development of the overseas country.

Value Full cost of study, including return airfare, maintenance and thesis allowance.

How to apply

Students are nominated by their own governments when a specific training requirement arises.

UK enquiries

For more information apply to: The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Association of Commonwealth Universities. 36 Gordon Square, London. WC1H OPF. United Kingdom

Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme (ORSAS)

Purpose: To ensure a continued supply of high quality research students to UK universities. The awards meet the difference between the home and overseas level of tuition fees only. Up to 850 new awards each year.

Eligibility, subject, and duration: For postgraduate students of outstanding merit and research potential, liable to pay the higher fees chargeable to overseas students.

Must be research students intending full-time study for a higher degree at a British university or one of four other specific institutions. Academic merit and research potential are the sole criteria governing the selection of candidates.

No account is taken of means, nationality or subject field. The awards are initially made for a year, but subject to the satisfactory progress of the award-holder, are renewable for a second or third year.

For more information contact The British Council through their website at

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