Quick tips for those seeking fee assistance

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A lack of financial resources need not be a barrier to your child attending an independent school. 

Approximately a third of pupils at independent schools are in receipt of some fee assistance - that is over 170,000 pupils. 


Nearly a billion pounds are given every year in the form of scholarships, bursaries and other awards.


Each year, over five thousand pupils receive means-tested financial assistance of 100% of the fees. 

Tip 1: Make full use of the extensive FREE resources on this website

Use this website to discover everything you can about scholarships, bursaries and other fee assistance at independent schools in the UK. Check out what you can do on our site here.

Tip 2: Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with new information

Sign up to our newsletters here to be kept up to date with new information.

Tip 5: Start early, if you can, but don't worry if you have left it rather late

Start to investigate fee assistance well in advance. However, do not worry if you have left it rather late, as there are still likely to be opportunities available.

Tip 4: Schools are used to talking to parents about fee assistance

Do not be frightened of approaching schools to ask about financial support. Schools are used to talking about fee assistance with parents and they will be happy to discuss your queries and concerns. Each School Profile on our Search for Schools page, has a "Welcome Message", which is a section of text designed to to put you at your ease.

Tip 3: Appreciate that a significant amount of fee assistance is regularly awarded

Remember that around a third of children at independent schools receive some fee assistance. Every year millions of pounds are given to thousands of children to enable them to accept places at independent schools. Therefore, if you need to apply for financial help, you are not alone. Be bold and apply for these life-changing applications!

Tip 8: Learn more about fee assistance by reading our Articles page

Our Articles page has informative articles about fee assistance written by those with expertise in the field, including Head teachers.

Tip 9: Stick to your own instincts and do not be put off by others.

Other people may tell you that you should not pursue the possiblity of fee assistance, that an award is impossible, or that you cannot afford to make an application or that your child will not win an award. Stick to your own instincts and make your own decisions. It is certainly difficult to pursue fee asistance and there is no way to guarantee success but the only way to have a chance of accessing these opportunities for your child, is to have a go. Significant numbers of children have already received financial assistance which has enabled that to join schools that they would otherwise not have been able to attend.

Tip 6: Talk to schools and listen to them

Ask for advice and information from schools and listen carefully to it. The staff employed by schools are usually very experienced about fee assistance.

Tip 7: Attend Open Days and other events

Attend open days and other events offered by schools to prospective parents. Remember that schools often require attendees to register/book for the event. You will find events on our Search for Open Days page, along with links to register/book.

Tip 12: Financial assistance for pupils already attending an independent school

Many schools are able to help current pupils whose families fall on hard times or have a significant change in circumstances which affects their ability to pay the fees. If you are already paying fees and begin to have trouble doing so, do not be afraid to ask the school if they are able to help you.

Tip 13: Schools are very different

Schools have very differing financial reserves earmarked for fee assistance and widely varying criteria for awarding financial help. It is advisable to discuss your situation with a number of schools, to determine whether they can help you. This saves investing a great deal of time and effort with a school, only to find out that your needs are not compatible with what they are looking for and offering.

Tip 14: Financial help from other organisations

Some educational trusts help with school fees. These awards tend to be for children in quite specific circumstances but they can be worth investigating. See our organisations page for further details.

Tip 15: Meet deadlines - for registration, applications etc

Meet deadlines set by schools for registration, acceptance of a place, deposit, application for an award etc. If you do find you have missed a deadline, don't immediately give up, try speaking directly to the school and asking if there is any way around the problem.

Tip 16: Persevere

Persevere through setbacks. It is often those who do not give up who are successful in the end. Do not be afraid to fail. If you fail, try again. Look at finding an affordable place for your child as if you were making an ascent of Everest. What you are trying to achieve is hard and failure is real possibility but the prize is indisputably worth the effort.

Tip 17: Check application criteria

Check that your child meets the criteria for any award for which you want to enter them. If there is any doubt, talk to the school.

Tip 11: Try other schools

If you are disappointed at one school, approach another. Your experience there may be quite different.

Tip 18: If you cannot afford payments such as registration and deposits, talk to the school

Schools understand that even the cost of registration and deposit payments can be too high for some parents. If you are having difficulty with any payment, however small, talk to the school and ask if they can suggest a way forward. Some schools, for example, will allow parents who cannot afford registration and deposit payments and whose child is dependent upon an award, to be exempt from such payments.

Tip 19: Be aware of what you are committing to

Nowadays, particularly with the advent of pre-testing, schools may well offer a place, and ask for acceptance, long before your child is due to start the school. Accepting a place usually commits you to paying for the first term's fees, even if your child does not take up the place.

Tip 20: Obligations of an award holder

It is important to appreciate that children who hold awards can often be expected to.............

Tip 21: Check out our Factsheets for information

Our Factsheets are designed to provide you will helpful information. They are divided into topics to help you locate the most appropriate factsheets for your circumstances.