National Scholarship Programme and Birkbeck Cash Bursary
Undergraduate students starting their studies in 2012 may be eligible for our new financial support schemes:
- National Scholarship Programme
- Birkbeck undergraduate cash bursary
- Application process
- Income assessments and acceptable evidence
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Eligibility for these schemes will be assessed as part of the enrolment process. Details on the amount of support available, eligibility criteria and process for applying are displayed below.
Please note: this funding will be awarded on a first come first served basis, is assessed on an annual basis and is not guaranteed for every year of your course.
The National Scholarship Programme, funded by the government and Birkbeck, is available to new undergraduate students with household incomes of less than £20,000 a year. Under this scheme, eligible students can get a reduction of up to £3,000 on their course fees.
Eligible students can receive a fee waiver of up to £3000 applied to the first 120 credits of study for all programmes that qualify for the scheme. This ensures that all eligible students receive the same fee reduction, regardless of the intensity of study. Eligibility for fee waivers is assessed in each year of study.
To illustrate, eligible 3-year degree students will receive the fee waiver of £3000 in their first year, 4-year degree students will receive a fee waiver £2250 in their first year and £750 in the 2nd year.
|Study mode / course load||Intensity||Credits||Fee reduction – Year 1||Fee reduction – Year 2|
- You must:
- Have a household income of less than £20,000 a year ().
- Be a Home/EU student.
- Not be ordinarily resident in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
- Not be in receipt of sponsorship towards fees from an employer.
- Be studying at least 30 Credits/25% intensity.
- If you are on a Certificate of Higher Education course, you must be studying a module or modules with fees of £1,500 or more for 30 Credits. Check our .
These bursaries are to support the other costs of study such as purchasing books, printing and travelling to lectures. They are available to new undergraduate students with household incomes of less than £25,000 a year. Under this scheme, eligible students can get a cash bursary of up to £1,000.
The amount of bursary varies depending on your level and mode of study, for example:
|Type of Study||Intensity / Credits||Cash Bursary|
|Full-time 3 Year Degree||100% / 120 Credits
|Part-time 4 Year Degree||75% / 90 Credits||£750|
|60 Credits study
||50% / 60 Credits||£500|
|30 Credits study
||25% / 30 Credits
- You must:
The application for the National Scholarship Programme fee waiver and Birkbeck Undergraduate Cash Bursary is part of the online enrolment process.
How to apply
- When enrolling you will be asked if you wish to be considered for means-tested assistance. You must answer 'Yes' to this question if you wish to be considered for the National Scholarship Programme and/or Birkbeck Undergraduate Cash Bursary.
- You will then be asked to provide some details regarding your income, with the other eligibility criteria checked automatically by the system.
What happens if you are eligible?
- If you are eligible for a National Scholarship Programme fee waiver:
- During enrolment you will be informed of any fee reduction you may be entitled to and the balance of your fees will be amended accordingly.
- After completion of enrolment the Student Financial Support Office will require .
- Once your income has been verified, if you are receiving a student loan for your tuition fees, Birkbeck will contact Student Finance England directly to confirm that you are in receipt of a fee waiver. This will reduce the amount of loan you need to borrow.
- If you are eligible for a Birkbeck undergraduate cash bursary:
- During enrolment you will be informed of any cash bursary you may be entitled to.
- After completion of enrolment the Student Financial Support Office will require proof of the income you have declared.
- Once your income has been verified, bursary payments will be made termly directly into your bank account by BACS transfer.
What is meant by Household Income (full-time students)?
- For a full-time student this will depend on whether you are financially dependant on your parents. If you are over 25 at the start of the academic year, you are independent and Household Income will be assessed on your gross income from the 2011-2012 tax year and the gross income of your spouse/partner. The income limit is raised by £2,000 if assessed on a joint income, £2,000 for the first dependant child, and a further £1,000 for each child after. A dependant child is any child under 18, for whom you or your partner has parental responsibility that is wholly or mainly financially dependent.
- If you are under 25 at the start of the academic year, you will generally be classed as dependant, unless you have been supporting yourself for at least three years. If you are classed as dependant, parental income will also be taken into account. Please see the direct.gov website for full details on how you will be assessed.
What is meant by Household Income (part-time students)?
- For a part-time student this is your gross income from the 2011-2012 tax year and the gross income of your spouse/partner. Parental income is not considered for any part-time students. The income limit is raised by £2,000 if assessed on a joint income, £2,000 for the first dependant child, and a further £1,000 for each child after. A dependant child is any child under 18, for whom you or your partner has parental responsibility that is wholly or mainly financially dependent
What proof do I need to provide (full-time students)?
- For a full-time student proof of household income is obtained by Birkbeck via the Student Loan Company (SLC).
- If you have not done so already, you must apply to the SLC for means-tested funding. You will need to do this within 28 days of enrolment.
- When applying you will need to provide information about your personal details, residency status, course details and household income (including National Insurance Number).
- You can request that the SLC means-test you, even if you do not wish to take (or are not eligible for) any statutory loans or grants.
- When applying to the SLC, you must 'Consent To Bursary Sharing Data' in order for the SLC to inform us of your Household Income. If you are classed as dependent, you and your parent/s will need to consent to share your information. If you are classed as independent you/and your partner will need to consent to share. The SLC will inform us directly of your household income.
- If you choose either to not consent to the sharing of this data, or to not apply for means-tested funding via the SLC, we will be unable to consider you for a NSP fee waiver or Birkbeck cash bursary.
What proof do I need to provide (part-time students)?
- For a part-time student you will be required to provide photocopied proof of income to the Student Financial Support Office. This can be any one of the below:
- If receiving benefits: A letter from the Job Centre or Council dated within the last four weeks which shows that you are currently in receipt of one of the following means-tested benefits: Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance, Council Tax Benefit, Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-Based Employment & Support Allowance, New Deal Allowance.
- If working: A photocopy of your (and your partners where applicable) P60/s, or Month 12 payslip, or a self-employment tax return for the 2011-2012 tax year, or a Statement of Earnings for this period from HMRC.
- If not working or receiving benefits: A photocopied letter confirming enrolment at an educational institution during the 2011/12 academic year, or your Student Finance England notification letter from 2011/12 if you are transferring from another University.
- You will need to print out your confirmation of enrolment email, attach your photocopied income proof and post it to the Student Financial Support Office or drop it off at the My Birkbeck Helpdesk within 28 days of enrolment.
Can I still get the NSP Fee Waiver and/or Birkbeck Cash Bursary if I am not applying for financial support from the Student Loan Company?
- Yes, self-funding students can be considered for the NSP and Bursary schemes. However, full-time students will still be required to apply to the SLC for means testing. You can apply to the SLC for means testing only (i.e. choose not to be considered for the loan or grant).
Why can I not get sponsored and receive a National Scholarship Programme fee reduction?
- The National Scholarship Programme is a part-government funded scheme, and this criteria was set by the government.
If I do not apply for means-tested assistance during the enrolment process can I apply at a later date?
- This may be possible. Please contact the Student Financial Support Office for advice.
What happens if I do not or cannot prove my income within the agreed 28 day period?
- For the NSP, the agreed fee reduction will be cancelled and you will become liable for the higher fee. For the bursary, you will not be able to receive payment of your bursary.
- If you think you can't meet the 28-day timeframe please contact the Student Financial Support Office as soon as possible.
What if I withdraw or interrupt my studies?
- Your entitlement will be reduced pro-rata according to when you leave the course. Cash Bursary payments already made will not need to be paid back.