In some countries, government bursaries are offered to help students who are in need of financial aid. A Government bursary is very common in Canada, South Africa, and can be found in various forms in the United Kingdom. These student bursaries are normally available to those with an exceptional need due to disabilities, families, or poverty. Normally these sorts of bursaries are handled by local provincial governments, or even at the university level, so finding out about bursaries for your area should start with an inquiry at the local organization which handles applications for monetary aid. Aid is available to citizens of the province or locality, and as a result these government bursaries are not typically available to foreign students. Those students who are looking to travel outside of the country to attend school but will need government bursary aid to assist them in their funding should first sign up at a local institution’s exchange program, otherwise funds will not be available.
Bursaries offered by governments are normally given out with a number of fairly straight forward conditions attached. Some exist for students freshly entering college, designed to give those in need of exceptional financial assistance access to funds. It is not at all uncommon for repayment of these bursaries to hinge on academic achievement, meaning that those who do well in school will not have to worry about paying back any of the amount whereas those who perform poorly may find themselves having to reimburse the awarded amounts.
Other government bursaries, such as the Canada Millennium Bursary Program, offer assistance to students who have already been in school for at least 60% of a single year while also being eligible through financial need. Aspects of the Millennium Bursary Program also include the Millennium Access Bursary and Millenium Award, all government bursary programs designed to help students enter and maintain financial assistance at post secondary institutions. The deadlines for these programs will vary by province but most students are automatically entered for consideration when they apply for financial aid at their university.
Of course not every potential student is a citizen of Canada, and will need to find government bursary information for their own region. Like with scholarships, starting your bursary application process is ideally done early on. Because of the high demand for access to these government bursaries and only a limited amount of money available to disburse, starting early increases your chances of getting access to a program.
Further, the earlier you apply, the earlier you will know what your financial aid status is giving you a much clearer idea of how much money you may still need to find to complete your funding needs. The process of applying for a government bursary can sometimes take months, in the case of the Canada Millennium Bursary up to six months. As soon as you have an idea of where you will be attending school, it is important to start talking to provincial or local government bursary sources immediately or else you may quickly find yourself left behind.
Different government bursaries have access to different amounts of funds. The government bursary is not a guaranteed method of paying for school, but if you meet the appropriate criteria and apply in a timely manner they will more than likely turn out to be useful in your quest for aid. Look around at multiple sources on campus or through local government organizations which handle financial aid issues. Always make sure you have a full assessment of your status – know if you are a dependent according to your nation’s legal standards, know what your family’s income is, make sure you have identification and are prepared to wait a short while to speak with somebody. Fortunately, though the process can sometimes be a little long, many government bursaries allow you to apply for all available programs with a single form. This makes for a great convenience – once you’re done you should not have to worry about applying for any other programs which are covered by your initial application.