Students across Swindon and the rest of the county are invited to consider applying for Wiltshire Community Foundation’s University Bursaries.
People due to start university in September who are worrying about finances have just a few weeks to apply for the bursaries which could provide £1,600 for each year of their course.
Wiltshire Community Foundation’s University Bursaries are aimed at young people whose parents struggle to help them with extra money on top of their student loan, leaving them anxious about how they will make ends meet while they are there.
The bursaries can help with living expenses, transport, food, books and equipment, and are available to students under 25 who have lived in Wiltshire for two years, and the student or their parents or guardians must be in receipt of at least two means-tested benefits and have lived in the county for two years.
Wiltshire Community Foundation joint chief executive Fiona Oliver said: “We stay in close contact with all of our bursary recipients throughout their course and they tell us that having the money is like a safety net.
"It helps lift some of the worry about buying food or covering transport costs which can have an effect on their concentration.”
Students must be eligible for funding through Student Finance England and be studying for their first undergraduate degree at a UK university or institution, and the scheme allows them to concentrate more on their studies rather than having to work long hours.
Graduate Cassidy Hill, now a primary school teacher, said having the bursary allowed her to begin her teaching degree earlier because she was working to save the money.
She added: “It was a big relief not having to worry so much about money. I think I would have still gone to university without the bursary but it would have been really difficult and I would have had to work longer while I was there so it made a massive difference.
“The bursary has been brilliant and I wouldn’t have enjoyed university nearly as much, or done as well, without it.”
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland has urged families to take advantage of the bursaries if they are eligible.
“They offer direct and substantial assistance to students who are embarking on their first degree,” he said. “These bursaries help to make a difference for many young people so I would urge people to apply now.”
Families can apply for the bursary by registering their interest on the community foundation’s website. A link to an online application process will then be sent back. All applications will be assessed in the next few weeks but the closing date for completed applications is 31 March.
Mrs Oliver added: “It’s a really straightforward process and we can help with every step. We have assisted hundreds of families with the applications so we know all the usual queries.”
More information can be found at wiltshirecf.org.uk/grants-and-support/individuals