Students are leaving university tens of thousands of pounds in debt – but many are failing to take advantage of scholarships.
According to research by The Scholarship Hub students are potentially missing out on more than £150 million in scholarships.
The social enterprise is a free online database of scholarships for university, plus information on other alternative ways to fund university including degree apprenticeships, sponsored degrees, grants and bursaries.
A survey of 20 leading organisations, offering scholarships, grants or bursaries to UK students revealed many struggled to find enough suitable applicants.
Of those questioned, half had to work quite hard to attract applicants, often having to extend deadlines and nearly a third said they get less than 50 applicants.
Only two said they got a good response.
One of the biggest barriers is getting information across to students. Most,14 out of 20 cited universities’ reluctance to promote external scholarships as a key factor.
Karen Kennard, founder of the Scholarship Hub said: “Students thinking it’s not worth their while applying for scholarships might be surprised to hear that organisations are often struggling to give away this ‘free money’ and, in many cases, the low number of applicants means your chances of getting one are pretty high.
“Scholarships, grants and bursaries are not just for disadvantaged students. Funding is offered for a wide range of reasons from academic merit and financial need, to musical and sporting talent, personal circumstances such as where you come from or what your parents do and awards for recognition of your involvement in the community.”
Universities and colleges say they promote bursaries and scholarships.
The University of Central Lancashire has just launched two new medical scholarships; the MBBS, specifically intended for medical students in East Lancashire and Cumbria where their is greatest need for their eventual services.
The university also offers wide range of academic and widening participation awards including the popular Harris Bursary.
Myersough College offers extras like travel scholarships to help further students’ studies while Lancaster University offers financial support in areas from arts to politics.