What is the Difference between Scholarships and Bursaries for College Students

Applying for college can be a long and trying experience, and one of the more exhausting things that many students must go through is the financial aid application process. Scholarships and bursaries are available to a wide audience of people, but sorting through which ones individual students are eligible for from the ones they are not takes a good amount of time and research.

While in the United States, scholarships and grants are typical methods of funding college education, students outside of the US will find that bursaries are equally if not more common than scholarships with regards to potential aid. Bursaries and scholarships remain the best alternative to funding outside of student loans, and students in regions where bursaries are more common should investigate all of their options. Some places, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, have extensive bursary and scholarship programs available to students. Applying for these programs, while still complicated in many ways, is streamlined through a single application. Meanwhile students in South Africa will have to spend a considerable amount of effort trying to root out scholarships and bursaries available to them, but this process is made a little easier by having an immense amount of information online.

There will always be students who believe finding scholarships and bursaries to be unnecessary work, and will rely only on student loans to get them through school. While this is certainly a viable process, it is easily the most financially reckless way to go about seeking financial aid. Scholarships and bursaries are an important part of the funding process for many students, and will help to reduce the overall debt that students graduate with. Looking for work after graduation can sometimes be difficult, so having as little debt as possible is important for most students as looming loan repayments can add stress to anybody’s life. For any student looking to responsibly fund their education, scholarships and bursaries are the best route to go, and many countries have made the process relatively simple.

Many students wonder what is the difference between bursaries and a scholarship. It really depends on the country you live in frankly on what you call it and they are almost identical in nature in that they are awards which pay your way through college. Bursaries and scholarships vary in a number of ways that are important for students to be aware of though. Scholarships are often given out with few strings attached outside of maintaining academic achievement. While this is also true of many bursary programs, it is not always the case especially with regards to those bursaries offered by private companies. The key difference is that sometimes private bursaries require work at a company post-graduation, which is not necessarily a bad thing. If students are willing to accept this condition as part of their bursary funding, they will have the benefit of not only having access to good financial aid but will also be employed after graduation. This allows them to effectively dodge the bullet of finding a job, and often ensures decent employment freshly out of their university’s gates.

There are many reasons to apply for scholarships and bursaries for students. Not only do they give you funding for your college education, but they also allow you to assess your current status in life. In many bursary application forms students are required to review their own academic work while also considering their community involvement and future career goals. It is important for students to keep a record of their community engagement, especially when applying to post-graduate schools or even to some jobs.

Further, assessing career interests will help ground a student in the often stark reality of the world, demanding they consider what it is they want to do in life. This is especially true of students whom receive funding from private bursary programs. Students who are not entirely sure that they want a future in engineering would be advised to steer clear of bursary programs which result in them being hired in the field after graduation. Not only would they likely be miserable in their placement, but their academic interest may wane over time, lowering their grades or requiring that they pay back what they have been given.

As always, when applying for bursaries and scholarships students should be careful in selecting the programs they are eligible for and remember to apply for as many as possible as this increases their chances of gaining access to financial aid. Get a leg up on today and start looking for those 2011 bursaries and scholarships you can apply to today.

16 thoughts on “What is the Difference between Scholarships and Bursaries for College Students”

    1. molebogeng,

      apply to any bursary program by going directly to the bursary sponsors website online to see if you qualify for them first.

    1. Sihle,

      you must apply to bursaries to see if you qualify for them. We write about them and feature many on our site. Go directly to the bursary sponsor to apply. There is usually a link at the bottom of the article.

      1. doing commercial subjects and I passed all my subjects with level4 and above do I qualify for teaching as a career

        1. Brian,

          you must apply to any bursary or scholarship to see if you qualify for it. I would start with your government bursary programs firstly; then visit your college FinAids office to apply to those next.

  1. my son passed his first year B.Ed. I had to pay out of my own pocket in 2014, which was very difficult. We need to apply for a bursary. His results was also only released on Tuesday due to the fact that the university did not have his Matric Certificate on file. Please help!!!!!!

    1. Wayne,

      sit down with the manager of the financial aids office of the college your son is attending to discuss your particular financial situation and see what options there are to apply to for student aid of any type – bursaries, scholarships or grants. Also applying to your OWN government for bursaries are one of the easiest ways of securing student aid – easy to apply to and easy to get!

  2. Please help me with a bursary to study nursing as it is my passion for years. My no is 0748448974 and I am 44 years old. Thanks

    1. Liz,

      you should look into your government educational website about the bursaries offered their. Many governments have programs for health related fields of study.

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