By Scottish Council of Independent Schools
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 schools pupils receiving a 100% bursary.
1. WHAT IS A BURSARY?
Often called fee assistance a bursary is awarded on proven financial need and enables children from lower income families the opportunity of an independent education. Financial assistance is generally awarded from P7 through Senior School and up to 100% of the fees can be met by the school.
2. WHAT IS A SCHOLARSHIP?
A scholarship is awarded as a result of a competitive scholarship 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 funds in trust for pupils until they complete Sixth Form.
3. APPLYING FOR A BURSARY
Your child will have to meet the school's normal entry requirements. They do not have to be of the academic standard required to win a scholarship, but they may be assessed to ensure they have the ability to make solid academic progress. Schools will want to know about all your financial circumstances, not just your take-home pay so be prepared to fill in detailed forms providing evidence of need. Each case will be looked at individually, and schools will take into account pensions, investments, the value of your property, rent or mortgage paid as well as assets and liabilities.
4. APPLYING FOR A SCHOLARSHIP
Scholarships are awarded for the most talented children and young people. Each school will have their own application procedures so visit the school’s website for more detailed information or speak to the bursar.
5. HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT ABOUT A BURSARY OR SCHOLARSHIP?
Most schools' websites and admissions materials will offer a comprehensive guide to their financial assistance process.
5 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. There are a number of Educational and Charitable Trusts that will consider providing fee assistance. The Educational Trusts’ Forum offers information and advice on finding fee assistance.
Contact Scottish Council of Independent Schools
+44 (0)131 556 2316