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 Post subject: Bursaries (in general)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:42 pm 
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Is there any website or forum or anything that can give a hint of what is the formula behind bursary attribution in some/most/all independent school?

I don't think I'd be able to afford more than 1 kid at day school (should the need arise or the opportunity presents itself for whatever reason) and not at all if it's 2 kids or a boarding one.

However, none of the websites explicit the relation between bursary amount, income, assets, etc... It would be enlightening to understand that relationship to be able to refine the universe of possibilities.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:27 pm 
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I think most of the indie schools deliberately keep the bursary formulae confidential. They tend not to know how much money they will have each year to give to new students so need to be able to be flexible.
Some only give bursaries to the most high achieving students.
Some look at all income and make allowances for other children etc, others look at other assets too eg savings / second homes etc


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:44 pm 
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As herman says, it is a formula known only to the bursar of each school - generally you apply as normal and indicate on your application whether you would like to apply for a bursary - usually there are some basic forms to fill in at this stage. Once your child has sat any entrance test and the results are known, they are then in a better position to offer bursaries - they look at how many have applied, the general level of income and how well your child has done. obviously if your income is deemed too high and/or your child has not done that well, they are less likely to offer!

The point about a bursary, that you need to consider very carefully, is that they do NOT guarantee the same level each year - you have to reapply each year and they are means tested - if your income changes (ie goes up) the level of bursary may well go down, if your income falls there is no guarantee the bursary will go up and, if they fail to achieve the same level of bursary support in the school coffers, they may not be able to continue with it. In practice, the bursary fund is used to support children currently in the school first and foremost (which is one of the reasons they cannot anticipate in advance how much income they will have to spend on bursaries).

I know Warwick School used to have a sort of bursary calculator on it's website which gave a rough indication of how much you might get if your income was x/y/z etc. This was only rough as it didn't allow for the variables (the things that are unique to each school's formula that herman touched on - e.g. some take mortgage payments out of income, some don't, some make allowances for other children, some don't)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:02 pm 
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Yes the Warwick school one is useful, but as has. Been pointed out, it's a very rough guide and the biggest guide is how many are asking in each year.
One thing I would say. When we looked into this, although there is not a guarantee, it would be highly unusual to remove a bursary award, all things remaining equal, as this could mean a child was torn out of a school when they were doing well, through no fault of their own. But as KCG says, should your income change in any way then you can fairly expect an adjustment if they do a yearly check of income.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:10 pm 
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ConfusedFather wrote:
Is there any website or forum or anything that can give a hint of what is the formula behind bursary attribution in some/most/all independent school?

I recent came across the following on the Reigate Grammar web site:
Reigate Grammar wrote:
The exact amount of fee reduction will depend upon family circumstances, but as a rough guide, families with a total gross income (in the year 2013-14) of over £59,000 are unlikely to qualify, while those earning less than £19,000 may receive a fee reduction of up to 100%.

Very vague, but might be of some use.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:33 pm 
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Interesting, since the upper limit is about £42k net, this assumes that people are expected to go severely into debt to finance school (assuming boarding is about £35k on average? )


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:09 pm 
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No - it is still the case that the majority of people accessing independent schools, day or boarding, are perfectly able to finance the place themselves, or through grandparent/family contributions. Full fee paying families are still the norm and in the majority. A British public school education is still highly sought after, especially in the Far East, and a steady stream of income comes from this area. That is certainly true for the "top" end institutions - obviously there are a range of independent schools around the country - some fight for their very financial survival every year, some don't achieve much better grades than an average state school, some are very good but less well known - so in these, you may find more 'normal" income families.

If you would have to put yourself severely into debt to finance it than I would strongly advise that you think again. Putting that amount pressure on a child may not be very fair - if the whole family has to make sacrifices to enable them to stay in the school. Also remember that any bursary is usually awarded against fees and fees alone - although there may be additional access grants for trips/uniform/travel etc, etc, etc, it can be harder for a child to settle in an institution if they know that their family cannot afford to access all the things the school has to offer.

If you would find yourself in that situation then look very carefully at the state schools around you, either grammar or comprehensive. As many people, myself included, will tell you - a school is just a school - they all study the same curriculum and sit the same exams - there are good/bad and indifferent schools in both the private and state sector (depending on what you are judging them on) and just because you pay for something does not make it better. What you save in fees, you could spend on taking your child on fabulous trips to enhance their education.


Last edited by kenyancowgirl on Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:10 pm 
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ConfusedFather wrote:
Interesting, since the upper limit is about £42k net, this assumes that people are expected to go severely into debt to finance school (assuming boarding is about £35k on average? )

I don't think Reigate offers boarding places (although I might be wrong). Their day fees are about 16K per annum.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:51 pm 
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kenyancowgirl wrote:
...


Not currently thinking of sending them to independent schools, but it's good to understand the options and the system.
Debt is against my ethos, so assuming independent is the way to go for either of them, I'd only make this choice if I can afford it outright (through income or liquid savings) or with the help of bursaries.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:04 pm 
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There was a thread on mumsnet recently in the Education talk section where a family made sacrifices to pay fees. Their children were not academic and have not achieved sufficient grades to go to uni. If your reason for choosing private is simply results think very carefully- how would you feel if they didn't produce them?!


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