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If you're thinking about starting university soon, you've probably got money on the mind.

Royal Holloway offers an exceptional range of bursaries and scholarships

Student loans, tuition fees, maintenance grants...there's a lot to get your head around before you can even think about sitting down for your first lecture.

You should give careful consideration to your finances before committing to a degree. But money shouldn't be a barrier to benefiting from a university education.

As well as a wide range of loans and grants that are available, each university will offer a selection of bursaries and scholarships. If you qualify for one of these, you can get additional help with your finances.

So where do you start? How can you find out if you're eligible for a bursary or scholarship? We caught up with Royal Holloway's bursaries and scholarships officer Louisa Mairlot to uncover the answers to some of the key questions.

Royal Holloway offers an exceptional range of bursaries and scholarships to financially assist undergraduate students beginning their studies in 2013.

To stay up-to-date with news from Royal Holloway, including the scholarships and bursaries, visit the Royal Holloway website to register your interest.

What is the difference between a bursary and a scholarship?

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, bursaries are usually non-competitive and automatic, often based on financial need, while scholarships are competitive and are often based on academic, sporting or musical excellence. You usually, but not always, have to apply for them.

What types of bursaries and scholarships are there?

Universities often offer a range of bursaries and scholarships which are dependent on various criteria. Some rely on household income and support widening access to university while others are aimed at rewarding things like academic excellence. There may also be some awards which are aimed at supporting students who have applied to study specific subjects at university.

All universities will offer National Scholarships of some description as part for the Government’s National Scholarship Scheme. The criteria and values of these scholarships will vary dependent on the university.

At Royal Holloway, students who receive a National Scholarship will receive a scholarship of £3,000 for the first year of study which will be awarded as a combination of cash and either an accommodation or tuition fee reduction.

How can I find out if I am eligible for a bursary?

The eligibility criteria for bursaries vary dependent on the award and the university. Details of the eligibility criteria should be available on the university’s website. You should read the eligibility criteria carefully to work out if you should be receiving any of the automatic awards or if you meet the eligibility criteria to make an application for any of the scholarships.

What can I expect from a bursary?

Generally speaking bursaries provide you with additional financial support for your time at university. This financial support can appear in different ways. Some awards will give you the option to receive the support as money in your bank account or to use the award to reduce the amount of money you have to pay for your accommodation fees or as a reduction to your tuition fees.

Royal Holloway offers an exceptional range of bursaries and scholarships

When should I apply?

Application deadlines for bursaries and scholarships vary from university to university so it is always a good idea to check university websites to find out this information. It is important to be aware that application deadlines do tend to be fairly early and in order to apply for a scholarship at a university, you may be required to have made that university your firm choice on your UCAS form

When would I receive the bursary money?

This will depend very much on the university and the specific awards that you are receiving. Often awards are paid in instalments which are usually spread across the three terms. Dates for when bursaries or scholarships are paid should be available on the university’s website.

How can I find out more about the bursaries available at my chosen university?

The best place to find information about the bursaries and scholarships that are available would be the university’s website. You can also find information in various other places including the university’s prospectus and also the UCAS website as these often provide information about the financial support available or at least offer links to the correct website.

Do you have more questions about bursaries and scholarships? Check out Royal Holloway's FAQs page for more help and advice.