Financial Support for Students

Information about bursaries, scholarships, awards and prizes as part of our commitment to fair access, participation and student success.

Ulster University offers a wide range of bursaries, scholarships, awards and prizes as well as an extensive portfolio of outreach targeted activities, initiatives and programmes delivered in partnership with schools, communities and employers specifically for individuals and groups from under represented areas.

University policies for the disbursement of direct financial support to students arising from regulatory compliance with the Higher Education (Northern Ireland) Order 2005.

The polices have been overseen by the Widening Access and Community Engagement Sub-Committee and have been operational for many years.  The new Fair Access, Participation and Student Success Sub-Committee will update these in 2018/19.

They include:

  • Access Bursary

    Eligible students will receive a bursary of 10% of the annual student fee to help meet the costs associated with their course. Bursaries, like grants, do not have to be repaid.

    Students must:

    • have a residual family household income, as assessed by Student Finance NI or the Student Finance Services European Team, not greater than £19,203;
    • be permanently resident in NI or the EU (excluding England, Scotland and Wales);
    • be registered on a full-time undergraduate course of the University leading to a first degree, or a course leading to the Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

    Students on the Nursing degree, all Allied Health degrees, and NI students on the Social Work degree are not eligible as additional government support is available for such students.

    Unlimited number of awards.

  • Care Leavers' Bursary

    The Care Leavers Bursary of £1,000 per annum forms part of a comprehensive suite of financial and non-financial support under the ‘Fostering Aspirations’ banner.

    The Bursaries are available to students with a background of care and include access to year-round accommodation and assistance with the application process.

    Full-time undergraduate students leaving care, or who have spent time in care for a period of three months, are eligible. Students are advised that when applying through UCAS that it is important they tick the box which asks if they have been in care.

  • Accommodation Voucher 

    The Accommodation Voucher scheme has been introduced in pilot during 2018/19 to encourage students from lower income households to apply for university-approved purpose built student accommodation.

    Eligible students will have their Access Bursary (currently of value £416) converted to an accommodation voucher of £1,000.

    Up to 100 Awards available.

  • Fund for International Travel

    The Fund for International travel provides on-course support to widening access students with a focus on outward mobility and experiencing cultures, environments and countries other than that of their domicile and socio-economic background and without which the financial hurdles are prohibitive.

    There are two elements to the Fund for International Travel:

    1. University-approved placements to support international travel to enable students to take advantage of work experience opportunities associated with their studies; and
    2. University-arranged International visits to partner institutions. The award contributes to the set up costs for widening access students.

    To be eligible, applicants must be a full-time undergraduate registered student at Ulster University, NI domiciled for a period of 3 years or more and must also meet at least one, usually more than one, of the following criteria:

    • be in receipt of an Access Bursary;
    • permanently reside (ie home address as recorded in Banner) in an area of high deprivation/low participation in higher education (applicants can check their deprivation rank by entering their postcode using a postcode look up tool).  Ranks between 1 and 178 are considered Quinitle 1.  Ranks between 179 and 356 are considered Quintile 2;
    • have undertaken secondary education at a state school with a free school meal entitlement rate of 40% or more (applicants can check their eligibility against this criteria on the Department for Education website);
    • be in receipt of benefits which may include: state income support, working tax credit or child tax credit;
    • have declared to the University a background of care;
    • have disclosed a disability to the University or be in receipt of disability living allowance/personal independence payments.
  • Fee Waivers

    Fee Waivers (see

    Ulster's Flexible Education framework supports access by enabling participation by students of a widening access background to achieve and accumulate academic credit that can lead to University awards in a way that suits their individual circumstances.

    The Fee Waivers apply to individual modules and are offered to overcome financial barriers of participation.

    Applicants must be a Northern Ireland resident and also meet at least one of the following criteria:

    • be unemployed;
    • be aged 16-24 years old and not in education/employment/training (NEET);
    • have an individual income of less than £16,190 gross;
    • be in receipt of one of the following benefits: Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA/personal independence payments), or Carers Allowance;
    • have been in care (fostering/adopted/care home or other supported residential care).


    Up to £500 (£85k annually)

    Dependent on available resource.

  • Technology Fund 

    Ulster University has announced that during 2020/21 there will be a blended approach to teaching and learning.

    It is important therefore for students to have access to technology that will enable them to access their courses.

    In response to this, Widening Access and Participation, in partnership with the Development and Alumni Relations Office and Student Experience and Wellbeing have set up a Technology Fund to provide laptops for those students who will be least likely to be able to provide the technology themselves.

    The fund is designed to support students with a household income below £19,203 (ie the threshold that would trigger payment of the Widening Access Bursary). As resources are limited the laptops will be allocated in stages to eligible groups of students using other criteria also, such as, the ranking of their permanent home address using the Northern Ireland Statistical and Research Agency’s Multiple Deprivation Index.

    Please note that:

    • Availability of this technology is severely limited, so we would ask that students only apply if they do not already have access to an appropriate device;
    • If demand exceeds availability then the laptops will be distributed on a first come first served basis based on the time the application is received.

    Useful web links


    All students who met the eligibility criteria should already have been invited to apply by set dates.

    The fund has been closed for academic year 2020/21.

  • Discount to Part-time Undersgraduate Student Fee

    A 10% discount will be applied to the student fee for those students who are eligible for a part-time fee grant from Student Finance NI (see


    1. Fee Grants are available to home students, ie Northern Ireland domiciled students and also those from the Republic of Ireland and EU.
    2. Only those EU students commencing their students in 2020/21 will be treated as home students.
Approval and ReviewDetails
Authority SLT
Authorising Committee

Fair Access, Participation and Success Sub Committee

Policy Revision

Prof Brian Murphy, Director of Access, Digital and Distributed Learning

Policy Ownership Policy Officer – Mrs Barbara Hunter)



Approved (FAPSSC)



8th October 2018


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Dedicated to maintaining the University's position as a sector leader in widening access to higher education.

Dedicated to maintaining the University's position as a sector leader in widening access to higher education.