Many people are confused about what a bursary actually is and how they work. Bursaries are a type of financial aid that is given to a student from either financial institutions like banks and investment companies, or government departments, large corporations, benefit funds, or from the educational institution at which the student is enrolled.
There are many conditions that apply to the granting of a bursary, and the repayment terms vary according to the bursary provider.
The issues that are considered by the bursary provider are often to do with merit (how well your school grades or college results are) and need (is the student in a situation where they will benefit from a certain qualification but are unable to carry all the costs?).
Some employers offer bursaries to the children of their employees, and these require the same motivation as any other bursary.
In some instances when a bursary needs to be repaid, students will either need to follow an agreed-upon repayment plan, work for the bursary provider once their studies have been completed, or a combination of both.
For example, a company may see that a student will be a great asset to their programme once they are qualified. The institution may then offer to pay for the student’s study fees, but with the agreement that the student enrols for a specific course, and then works for the company for a certain period of time after they are qualified. In this way, they ensure that they only employ top-quality employees, and that they are mutually invested in each other.
You may have also heard about scholarships. These are slightly different to bursaries, in the sense that scholarships are only granted to those who excel in their studies.
With a scholarship, you can usually work wherever you want to once you have qualified, whereas bursaries often tie you down. This is not a problem if you are happy to work for the bursary provider. Furthermore, it is reassuring to know that you have a job lined up for you once your studies are completed.
The easiest way to find a bursary provider is with the help of Google. Do a Google search on your field of interest, the companies involved in that field, and the jobs available in this line of work. Bursars often advertise on these platforms, because they know that interested individuals will be visiting these websites. Alternatively, libraries and government buildings have books that list the bursaries that are on offer every year, along with contact details and procedures.
It is very important to read your agreement with the bursar in detail, so as to be sure of all the terms and conditions that apply. You do not want to assume that things are going to be a certain way, and then halfway through your studies, realise the truth and find yourself in a difficult situation.
Try to apply for as many bursaries as possible, for which you are eligible. Even if you do not particularly want to stay with the chosen company or field, the gains you receive from a bursary will far outweigh the repayments.