Students thinking about studying in the UK are always keen to know what scholarships are available to them. This is not that surprising as studying overseas is a significant cost and you need to plan your finances carefully. Scholarships can make a significant contribution to your course costs and make the dream of studying at a UK university achievable.
Scholarships may take many different forms: tuition discounts, monthly stipends or in-kind payments, equipment, or even university accommodation. Individual universities will have their own range of scholarships programmes, but there are also scholarship programmes run by international organisations, Governments and charities.
Careful research and preparation is essential – so you know you’ve identified and understand all your options.
Scholarship Programmes at Universities
Most UK universities have strong links with India and have historically attracted a high number of students from India, so many have dedicated scholarships for students from India or South Asia as they strive to attract the brightest and the best students.
If you have the chance, speak to university representatives in India, as they will have the latest information about the scholarships available. You can also do lots of research online. All UK universities will have full details of their scholarship offers on their websites for you to view and apply directly for any scholarships which might be available to you. There may be different scholarships available at undergraduate and postgraduate level – so check carefully.
Alongside scholarships for specific countries, there might also be scholarships for academic excellence, where a student will have to meet a specific academic eligibility. For example, if you are applying for a postgraduate scholarship you may have to show you have a particular level of degree such as a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours.
You might also be able to take advantage of subject specific scholarships. This might be in popular areas such as law or growing fields such as data science which might be a strategic priority for the university. Alternatively, an academic department may receive funding from a benefactor who wants to support students through a scholarship. This will vary from university to university so when you have your shortlist of target universities, check what each university offers.
Scholarship Programmes to Consider
There are many organisations supporting scholarship programmes. University websites will highlight the ones relevant to them, but you can quickly find lists of the most popular ones online. Again, be organised and work through each programme, checking whether you qualify, the qualifying criteria and the deadlines.
These scholarships are often competitive, and applicants must show how they reflect the aspirations of the scholarship scheme. For example, Chevening Scholarships enable outstanding emerging leaders from all over the world including India to pursue one-year master degrees in the UK. Chevening Scholarships are fully-funded – covering flights, accommodation, and course fees – meaning recipients are free to focus on their professional goals and the university experience. Chevening and other scholarship schemes also focus on building the international networks of scholars both at the university and through additional activities.
Another programme is Commonwealth Master’s Scholarship which is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK. Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships provide candidates from eligible Commonwealth countries, including India, with air travel, tuition fees and a living allowance. Importantly, scholarships are offered under six themes – the science and technology for development; strengthening health systems and capacity; promoting global prosperity; strengthening global peace, security and governance; strengthening resilience and response to crises; and access, inclusion and opportunity.
The British Council also offers a number of competitive scholarships for Indian students – although these may not be available every year – so regularly checking the British Council or University websites is a must. Some of the more recent scholarships offered through the British Council include: the GREAT Scholarships (£10,000) and the Women in STEM Scholarships (full fee, travel and stipend).
Scholarships are an important way of supporting your studies, which you should investigate fully, but there are other issues you should consider.
The UK Government’s Graduate Route is continuing to prove incredibly attractive and very popular with Indian students. The Graduate Route provides an opportunity for Indian students who have been awarded undergraduate or postgraduate degrees to stay in the UK and work, or look for work, at any skill level for two years, or three years for doctoral students.
Students can move into interesting and rewarding roles once they have completed their studies which will support their career aspirations in the future and hopefully give them the experience which will increase their earning potential in the future. Combining a scholarship with the Graduate Route could give you a great university experience and perfect start to your career.
The author is Head of International Business Development at
University of Essex