What is the Difference Between Scholarships and Bursaries? 🤔

Studying abroad can be exciting and an excellent choice for your career. However, it comes with its financial challenges. Studying in a foreign university is expensive and can force academically qualified students to not apply to universities abroad. Here, financial aid in the form of scholarships or bursaries comes into the picture. Different universities offer different types of scholarships or bursaries to provide students with financial support. This blog explains the difference between the two!

What is a Scholarship?

Scholarships are a type of financial support provided to students based on various criteria. It is a type of non-repayable financial support that could be in the form of fee reduction, provision of finance to cover tuition costs, accommodation costs, maintenance costs, books, transportation, and even more. The benefits of each scholarship vary. A scholarship could be:

  • merit-based,
  • need-based,
  • both merit and need-based,
  • meant for a specific category of students,
  • meant for students from a particular country,
  • women scholarships,
  • or awarded to students pursuing a particular course or degree.

Almost all universities, various organisations, and government institutions offer scholarships. Universities often consider students when they apply for the courses. Other times, students must fill a separate application form for scholarships.

Also Read: Study Abroad Scholarships That You Must Explore

What is a Bursary?

Bursaries are also a type of financial award that universities offer to students who require financial support to complete their higher education. Universities offer bursaries based on which student needs the most support, like students from low household income, background or personal circumstances. A bursary sometimes also covers living costs. Students are required to apply for different bursaries when applying to universities. Universities, colleges, specific departments within universities, government or institutions fund bursaries.

Difference between Scholarships and Bursaries

Here are some differences between scholarships and bursaries:


There are several types of scholarships available for prospective students like merit-based, merit-cum-need based, Talent-based, etc. Whereas bursaries are mainly need-based monetary awards. 

Both scholarships and bursaries can be meant for certain groups like special needs students, women, students pursuing a particular course, students from a particular ethnicity or culture or country, etc.

To know more, download our FREE ebook on the Types of Scholarships.


The benefits offered under the two also vary. Scholarships can offer an automatic reduction of or cover the entire tuition fee. They can also offer discounts along with annual, term-wise or one-off payment for living costs. Bursaries offer money to cover education costs and sometimes a one-off payment for living costs.

Calculate the living cost for your study with our FREE Cost of Living Calculator.

Offered By

Universities or colleges can offer both scholarships and bursaries with their own funds. Governments or various external organisations can also offer both.

Offered To

Scholarships are offered to students based on their academic performance or achievements in sports, music, etc. Universities also offer Scholarships on the basis of need. On the other hand, bursaries are offered to students based on need, i.e. students who are in the most need of financial support would be awarded the bursary.

Also Read: Top Scholarships To Study Online

Basically, scholarships and bursaries are both financial aid, but they target different needs. However, both are essential in helping deserving students reach their dream universities. Leverage Edu also ensures that no student is devoid of a good education due to a lack of funds. We offer scholarships worth up to INR 5 lakhs to study abroad aspirants. Apply now and get on the right path to reach your dream university.