The difference between bursaries and scholarships

PUBLISHED: 15:21 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:21 23 October 2018


Here an education expert from ACS International Schools, which has campuses in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon, will answer your education questions

What is the difference between bursaries and scholarships? It’s quite confusing!

Don’t worry, a lot of people ask us how bursaries and scholarships differ. In short, bursaries are generally financially means tested awards, whereas scholarships tend to be awarded solely on excellence in a particular field or overall, regardless of family income.

At ACS, bursary places are offered to students who could benefit from an ACS education and contribute to the life of the school and its international ethos, but whose family household income would require financial assistance to meet the full school fees. Bursary awards start at 10% up to 100% of fees, so families with a wide range of incomes can apply.

Our bursaries are available to students aged 11+, 13+ and 16+. When awarding bursaries, we look for students with an enquiring mind, an international mindset and a desire to make a difference. Scholarships, on the other hand, are awarded to students who excel at school in some capacity. This may be for overall academic excellence or perhaps in a particular subject area such as sport, music or maths.

ACS offers an All-Rounder Scholarship which equates to a 10% school fee reduction to students over the age 16 who excel academically or through an extra-curricular activity. Importantly, we offer scholarships to students who demonstrate a high level of endeavour and participation in extra-curricular activities.

Not all schools offering bursaries and scholarships apply the exact same criteria, but most will present full eligibility details on their website.

I hope that’s answered your query and good luck with any application you make! Don’t forget the deadline for ACS bursary and scholarship applications is 13 December 2018 and you can apply online.

Tweet your questions to our experts via @ACSIntSchools and find out about ACS International Schools by visiting

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