Pupils from a wide range of different backgrounds go to independent schools. The schools themselves believe that having a broad social mix which reflects our society is equally important as the exciting range of experiences on offer. This is just one of the reasons why so many independent schools have funding available for pupils whose families are on lower incomes.
The total value of means-tested bursaries provided by schools has increased by over £16m since 2011, and currently stands at over £33m per year. Across all SCIS schools, over a quarter of pupils receive some form of fee assistance, with 3.5% of senior school pupils receiving a 100% bursary.
WHAT IS A BURSARY?
Often called fee assistance, a bursary is awarded on proven financial need and gives children from lower income families the opportunity to receive an independent education. A bursary is generally awarded from P7 through Senior School and up to 100% of the fees can be met by the school.
APPLYING FOR A BURSARY
Your child will have to meet the school's normal entry requirements, but they do not have to be of the academic standard required to win a scholarship. Schools will want to know about all your financial circumstances, so be prepared to fill in detailed forms providing evidence of need.
Each case will be looked at individually, and schools will consider pensions, investments, the value of your property, rent or mortgage paid as well as assets and liabilities.
WHAT IS A SCHOLARSHIP?
A scholarship is awarded as a result of a competitive selection process and can be awarded for academic ability, sport, arts or general excellence. Scholarships vary widely between schools. Some offer fee remissions, whilst others hold dedicated funds in trust for pupils.
Read our blog all about independent school scholarships here.
APPLYING FOR A SCHOLARSHIP
Each school will have their own application procedures, so visit the school’s website for more detailed information or speak to their bursar.
HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT ABOUT A BURSARY OR SCHOLARSHIP?
A school’s website and admissions materials will offer a comprehensive guide to their financial assistance process.
SCIS TOP TIPS FOR APPLYING FOR A BURSARY OR SCHOLARSHIP
• Enquire about fee assistance at least a year before you hope to enrol in the school
• Let the schools know as soon as possible that you are interested in financial assistance
• Most schools will have a deadline for applying for fee assistance so make sure you don’t miss it
• Make sure you leave plenty of time to complete the application and sort out any accompanying documents you may need to prove your income.
Unfortunately, schools only have a finite amount of funding available and therefore not all applicants will be successful. The Educational Trusts’ Forum offers information and advice on finding fee assistance.