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What is a student bursary and how can I get one?

In the pursuit of my student funding, I’ve found information about grants, loans, and special scholarships. I don’t see much about education bursaries although some people I’ve “met” on the Internet have mentioned some student bursary programs they are using to get funding for education. Information packages from some colleges mention a bursar’s office, but a college bursary seems to be a different thing. Are bursaries a real part of other students’ funding for college, or only a legend? If they are real, why aren’t they available for me?

Samantha Barber

in Student Loans

1 answer

1 answer

Jennifer Patterson on July 24, 2018

Student bursaries are a form of financial aid that students are expected to repay in work rather than money. (Those unable to do the work may be required to repay the money as a loan.)

One likely reason why colleges that interest you have not been sending you information about college bursaries is that they are in the United States. Although U.S. students also work in exchange for tuition money, the term “bursary” is mostly used in Canada.

In the United States, three distinct forms of financial aid can be considered as counterparts to Canada’s education bursary programs.

1. College Work-Study (CWS) is one of the standard federal government funding programs for education. Students (and supervisors) have a limited selection of part-time jobs students can do, usually on campus. Most of their wages go directly to the college; students can withdraw a small portion for pocket money.

2. Teaching fellowships are traditionally offered to graduate students enrolled in master’s degree programs, who may be hired to teach freshman classes in the morning or evening and attend classes in the afternoon.

3. Student funding is sometimes provided by states to students preparing for certain specific jobs like teaching or nursing, on the condition that, after graduation, these students will do these jobs in state institutions. The amount of money available, and thus the number of students who receive this state funding, varies from year to year as the state legislature reconsiders the state’s need for various types of employees. The state’s poorest schools might be looking for any or all qualified teachers, or only for high school math teachers.

Your student funding might be also attached to a work contract by a private organization, usually an employer. For example, in my neighborhood, a reliable volunteer fire fighter might earn a “scholarship” toward certification as an emergency medical technician, and a contract to serve as a local EMT for two years. Charitable foundations usually offer “grants,” but these can also be attached to specific jobs.

Students in Canada, or in other places with bursary programs similar to the Canadian model, can find more information about writing a traditional letter of application for bursaries here: . In South Africa, online bursary applications are acceptable: . The British National Health Service offers some bursaries through online forms: . Some other national governments may offer bursaries through their department of education.


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