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Private school bursaries

(100 Posts)
pollycat12 Thu 25-Jun-15 22:07:56

I know all schools are different but is it normal to have a mortgage ?

Or is it possible to apply if you rent ?


kitnkaboodle Thu 25-Jun-15 22:55:51

Why should you need a mortgage??confused bursaries are there to make up the fees if you can't pay. If you don't own a home then surely you are MORE eligible for a bursary ?? Depending on what other assets you might have ....

Smellyoulateralligator Thu 25-Jun-15 23:06:49

They go over your finances quite carefully - having a house with equity would go against you. I'd recommend speaking to the school - there's often a deadline for bursary applications.
Good luck.

Pepperpot69 Fri 26-Jun-15 10:45:24

Yes it is possible to apply for Bursaries if you rent or have tied accommodation and having a mortgage will not go against you only if you use it for a second home.

TeddTess Fri 26-Jun-15 10:55:48

i think you'd have more chance if you rent, less equity available to potentially use for school fees. unless of course you have a stash of ££ in the bank from a house sale!
You basically can't have access to the ££ or enough income to pay school fees.

ZeroFunDame Fri 26-Jun-15 10:55:59

They are both perfectly

Serendipity is the one crucial factor - the perfect school for your DC discovering your DC is the perfect pupil for them at this moment.

Bunbaker Fri 26-Jun-15 11:16:54

"having a house with equity would go against you"

So true. We own our house outright and have no mortgage. Our income was way below the maximum level to apply for a bursary, but we were refused one because our outgoings were also low - including the fact that we had no mortgage. So DD went to state school instead.

ChocolateWombat Fri 26-Jun-15 19:46:49

On some school websites, they give examples of different situations and the amount of bursary support those situations would receive. I think the Whitgift website does this.
Usually, renters get more, as they don't have equity in a property. Renters with a very low paid single parent might get the full bursary.

granolamuncher Sat 27-Jun-15 00:22:23

Don't do it, OP. Everything will be scrutinised and the bursar will pay you a surprise visit to check out the car in your drive and the ornaments on your mantlepiece. (Outward appearances, image, that's the level on which independent schools operate nowadays.)

Then the bursar will go off to a bursars' conference, as mentioned on another recent thread, where they manage to "forecast" that indie school fees will continue to rise by at least 5% pa for years to come. A cartel.

Prudent finances and looking after what you already have, as Bunbaker indicates, are not understood by these people. Such principles, upon which so many great schools were built, are no longer practised or taught in them. They rush instead to pander to the new super rich and spend, spend, spend.

They pretend to have decent bursary schemes but look at the accounts on the Charity Commission website, look at the fee rises and you will see that there's no way they will ever be able to help the growing swathes of families who can't afford their fees.

Keep away and go state.

ZeroFunDame Sat 27-Jun-15 00:42:22


"Everything" will not be scrutinised. You fill in detailed forms and provide evidence of income and outgoings. (If offered a bursary you will not be expected to prove that all your groceries have yellow stickers. You will not be expected to dress in rags, nor to holiday only in a hole in the road.)

The bursar will not pay you a surprise visit. They may well arrange to visit you at a mutually agreed time.

It is perfectly possible to be offered a bursary even owning a home mortgage free. But not even the most abject poverty can guarantee an award.

Every school is different. Some will be able to live up to the claims on their websites, others may not. The final decision (limited to exactly the funds they have available at the time) will come down to how much they want your child and whether it would be impossible for that child to attend the school without a bursary.

Millymollymama Sat 27-Jun-15 00:46:20

The fee rises happen because the schools have to offer bursaries to remain as charities. For many schools, the fee paying parents pay excessive increases each year so the fees are huge and more than they need to be. The bursaries tend to go to very bright or sporty children who bring glory on the school. Previously there would have been a handful of scholarships with a fee reduction. Plus it helps to have parents who can cook the books or really do have little money.

granolamuncher Sat 27-Jun-15 01:19:57

The fee rises happen because the schools have decided to cater to those parents who can afford such rises. Sometimes these rich parents later fall on hard times and/or get divorced, thereby becoming formerly rich and eligible for bursaries at that point. Many bursaries do go to families who paid fees in full at the start. Don't believe the school's propaganda about looking after the needy.

A bursar of a super expensive school told me surprise visits were best. He's caught out lots of families that way. The Honda Civic he was shown last time becomes a BMW 7 on the surprise return visit. Like Cinderella. wink

Pepperpot69 Sat 27-Jun-15 11:01:57

granolamuncher you don't appear to have any experience yourself of applying for or receiving bursary funding so maybe you are not best qualified to comment, despite hearsay from <'A bursar of a super expensive school'> This really isn't helpful to OP.
ZeroFunDame is quite right there are no 'surprise visits' from reputable schools as everything is conducted properly and by meeting with the Bursar they will explain the process to you. Bursaries are not always funded from other parents fees but from donations, charitable events and educational grants.

Ahwoo Sat 27-Jun-15 11:26:32

Maybe I'm naive, but I always thought scholarships were for the kids that bring glory (academic, sports, music) and bursaries were for the kids from families who would struggle financially to cough up the full fees. confused

granolamuncher Sat 27-Jun-15 11:34:03

Pepperpot, I don't pretend to be "qualified" to comment and I find it a peculiar suggestion that I should be. The point of this kind of forum is that people with different perspectives and experience can share them. I think it is helpful for a prospective parent to know how independent schools behave. Bursars do make surprise visits. You may not like the idea but it happens. If a bursar isn't "qualified" to tell me about the practice, who is? It's unlikely you'll find anyone coming on here to tell their own story of how they were humiliated by such a visit.

Yes, bursaries can be funded from donations etc but the funds are not generally being built up at the same rate as school fees are rising with the result that the numbers of families who can properly benefit from bursaries is not increasing.

There is an extraordinary deference to indie schools on MN. I urge parents to take a close look at schools' accounts on the Charity Commission website. That's where you can see how they actually behave, where their money comes from and how they spend it. With a few honourable exceptions (eg the GDST), most independent schools, particularly in London and the South East, have chosen in recent years to pander to the super rich. You can see this in the expensive sports and the miniscule class sizes which the super rich like but which previous generations of school leaders never considered to have educational benefit. Accolades in Tatler have become more important than spreading accessibility.

houselikeashed Sat 27-Jun-15 11:57:11

I recently spoke to my dc school bursar as we received a medical insurance payout and wanted to discuss our current financial situation. Bursar said that a lump sum of £50k sitting in your account was unlikely to change any decisions!!!!!
You have to start by choosing a school, then talking with the Bursar to find out their particular offers.
I have never been paid a surprise visit. What's the point of that? You might be out, and a friends car might be parked on your driveway!!!
I have had a Bursar make an arranged visit however, which is not a problem for us as we have nothing to hide!!!!

Start by finding a school, and then talk. Good luck. Sending our dc to private school on a bursary was the best thing we've ever done.

ZeroFunDame Sat 27-Jun-15 12:02:55

and bursaries were for the kids from families who would struggle financially to cough up the full fees.

That is what bursaries do Ahwoo but schools obviously can't give them to just anyone who wants one - so there will be some element of selection. They might set the bar as high as coming first in a scholarship exam or as wide as "this particular child will benefit from what we offer and probably bring credit to the school".

The strange thing is that some schools find that not enough people come forward to apply. Possibly because those least able to pay are the least likely to seek out the information and the most likely to feel intimidated by a school's image.

Pepperpot69 Sat 27-Jun-15 18:15:00

granolamuncher clearly your experience of applying for bursaries or not is entirely different to my own. I can only speak from personal experience, can you? You seem to have problem with where the funds come from for bursaries which is not what OP was asking. Quite what you mean by "pandering to the super rich with expensive sports", i have no idea. As all schools compete against each other in the same sports it would be rather difficult to have a select few schools with their own 'elite sport'. Rather bazar thinking.
"bursaries can be funded from donations etc but the funds are not generally being built up at the same rate as school fees are rising with the result that the numbers of families who can properly benefit from bursaries is not increasing." this is rather a generalisation and can not be substantiated as every school across the UK is different so this is far too wide a sweeping statement to be accurate.
I would advise OP that the best thing is to choose the schools you like, that will suit your DC and speak to the Bursars of this e schools. Don't listen to negative comments, go with your gut instinct, if you don't ask, you don't get!!

Superexcited Sat 27-Jun-15 19:20:55

We have a mortgage and more than 50% equity in our property and we were offered 90% bursaries from two schools, one of which is very selective and very academic. Neither school expected us to extend our mortgage to most fees because that would make the mortgage repayments too high to manage on our income. Neither school expected us to sell our quite new car. Neither school did a surprise visit. One of them did visit by appointment but the other school just asked for figures and p60s. Neither school asked for our bank statements.
We are not on benefits but still qualified for 90% bursaries without lying, jumping through hoops, or going to any extreme lengths.

Superexcited Sat 27-Jun-15 19:24:55

That should have said - we are not on unemployment benefits.

summerends Sat 27-Jun-15 21:41:33

Zero The strange thing is that some schools find that not enough people come forward to apply. Possibly because those least able to pay are the least likely to seek out the information and the most likely to feel intimidated by a school's image.
I wonder what percentage of bursary recipients do not have university educated parents or educated immigrant parents?

ZeroFunDame Sat 27-Jun-15 22:04:10

That would be an interesting piece of research summer.

I'm often struck by how people asking generally about bursaries seem quite drawn to less imposing schools and feel they should not darken the door of the big names. Which is a misapprehension.

summerends Sat 27-Jun-15 22:51:30

Zero my general impression is that the big names have not only the largest endowments but also the most will to attract pupils from parents without a background of tertiary education. How successful they are is another question.

Superexcited Sat 27-Jun-15 23:34:49

The big name and most successful schools in my region have no problem attracting students from low income families. The demand for bursaries outstrips the funds available at every independent school within my region.
I don't know how many bursaries go to families where the parents are not university educated but I do know that the direct grant scheme was abolished partly because most of the recipients were from well educated families and it was not improving social mobility which was supposed to be its main aim.
My DH is not university educated, in fact he left school with no O levels and his only qualifications are an O level that he gained at adult college and a work based basic vocational qualification.
I left school with 6 mediocre GSCEs and went straight to work but I do now have a degree because I went to uni as a mature student.
If anything it has been both mine and DH own experience of very poor school education that has made us take a great interest in our children's education and apply for bursaries so that the children don't have to suffer poor schooling with poor career guidance like we had. I don't know how many other bursary parents are similar to us.

Kuppenbender Sun 28-Jun-15 08:41:09

I would imagine that by the age of nine or ten there is already a considerable gap between state school children with university educated parents and those without.

Certainly in my son's year 6 class, the three or four who would have suited, and might have successfully applied to a selective entrance school, had university educated parents. Two are teachers themselves. I don't know whether any of those would have qualified for a means-tested bursary.

The damage may already be done before children enter reception! On today's BBC news site they have reported a recent study indicates that 4 out of 10 of the poorest boys (girls are less affected apparently) start school without the basic English language skills needed to learn. Those 15 months behind their peers by the age of 5 may never catch up. It's very much a socio-economic thing.

Now obviously that doesn't mean that if you're poor and your parents were poorly educated then you're doomed to a mediocre academic future. But, statistically, the odds are against you. You're also less likely to even be aware of Independent school bursary schemes.

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