Studying in the United Kingdom for Free

When it comes to tuition-free education in the UK, the reality is that such options are scarce. However, scholarships based on merit can be a game-changer.

In this article, I will provide you with valuable tips on ongoing scholarships in the UK specifically designed for international students, along with the requirements for enrollment.

Fully-Funded Scholarships in the UK

Studying in the UK can be a transformative and enriching experience, but the associated costs can pose a significant barrier for many students.

Studying in the United Kingdom for Free

However, there are fully-funded scholarships available that not only cover tuition fees but also provide allowances for living expenses, travel costs, and more.

Let’s explore some of the top fully-funded scholarships in the UK that offer remarkable opportunities for international students to pursue their studies without financial burdens.

#1. Great Scholarships

The Great Scholarships program is a commendable initiative that aims to provide financial assistance to international students aspiring to study in the UK.

It is a collaborative effort between the British Council and several esteemed UK universities, including the University of Bristol, the University of Reading, and the University of Warwick.

This scholarship covers full tuition fees and offers a generous living allowance of up to £12,000 for postgraduate students and up to £10,000 for undergraduate students.

To be eligible for the Great Scholarships, you must be a citizen of one of the eligible countries, such as China, India, Indonesia, among others. Additionally, you should have an offer to study at one of the participating UK universities.

#2. UCL Global Undergraduate Scholarships

The UCL Global Undergraduate Scholarships aim to support outstanding international students who aspire to study at University College London (UCL).

This prestigious scholarship covers full tuition fees and provides a substantial living allowance of £10,000 per year for up to four years.

The UCL Global Scholarships are open to undergraduate applicants who are citizens of countries outside the European Union (EU) and have received an offer to study in a full-time undergraduate program at UCL.

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To be considered for this scholarship, you must demonstrate academic excellence and financial need.

#3. The Chevening Scholarship

The Chevening Scholarship is a highly sought-after fully-funded master’s scholarship program for international students.

It is offered by the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in partnership with various organizations.

To be eligible for the Chevening Scholarship, you must meet specific criteria:

  • Level of Study: The scholarship is available for master’s degree programs only.
  • Institutions: The scholarship covers study at any UK university that offers full-time taught master’s degree programs.
  • Study Location: The scholarship is for studying in the UK.
  • Courses Offered: The scholarship is open to all subjects and disciplines. You can pursue a full-time taught master’s degree program in any field.
  • Program Duration: The duration of the scholarship depends on the selected program but does not exceed one year for postgraduate courses.

In addition to these general eligibility criteria, you must fulfill further requirements:

  • Language Proficiency: You must have a strong command of the English language as the scholarship program is conducted in English.
  • Nationality: The scholarships are targeted to citizens of Chevening-eligible countries.
  • Return to Home Country: After completing your studies in the UK, you must return to your country of citizenship and reside there for a minimum of two years.

Academic Qualifications

You must have completed all components of an undergraduate degree that will enable you to gain entry into a postgraduate program at a UK university by the time you submit your application.

The typical requirement is an upper second-class 2:1 honors degree in the UK, but this may vary depending on your chosen course and university.

  • Work Experience: You should have at least two years (equivalent to 2,800 hours) of work experience.
  • Course Offers: You should receive an unconditional offer from three eligible UK universities of your choice by July 13, 2023.

#4. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Established in 2000 with a groundbreaking donation of US$210 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is one of the most prestigious and fully-funded scholarship programs for international students.

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It is offered by the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship has the following eligibility criteria:

  • Nationality: The scholarship is open to students from all countries outside the United Kingdom.
  • Academic Excellence: Candidates must possess outstanding academic records and demonstrate exceptional intellectual ability and leadership potential.
  • Admission to Cambridge: Applicants must apply and gain admission to a full-time postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge. Additionally, they should secure a College place at Cambridge.
  • Commitment to Improving Lives: Candidates should exhibit a clear commitment to utilizing their knowledge and skills to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
  • Capacity for Leadership: Applicants should demonstrate leadership qualities and the potential to contribute to the advancement of society.

Requirements and Application Process

  • Language Proficiency: Proficiency in the English language is essential, and applicants must meet the University’s English language requirements.
  • Application Procedure: Candidates must first apply for admission to their desired course and a College place at the University of Cambridge. They should also indicate their interest in being considered for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
  • Account Creation: Candidates need to create an account on the official Gates Cambridge Scholarship website.
  • Personal Information: Fill in personal information in the application, including contact details and academic history.

Document Submission

  • Gates Cambridge Statement: Applicants must provide a statement (500 words) explaining why they are applying for the scholarship and how they meet the four main criteria.
  • CV/Resume: A detailed curriculum vitae or resume is required.
  • Research Proposal: Only Ph.D. applicants need to submit a research proposal.
  • Gates Reference: In addition to the two academic references required for admission, applicants must submit a reference specifically addressing their fit with the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
  • Application Questions: Respond to the application questions provided.
  • Submit the Application: After completing all the necessary steps, apply before the deadline.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship provides the following benefits to its recipients. Also, the scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees at the University of Cambridge. 

A stipend of £18,744 per year is provided for living expenses, pro rata for courses shorter than 12 months. For Ph.D. scholars, the stipend is awarded for up to four years.

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Other Coverage

  • Airfare: One economy single airfare is provided at the beginning and end of the course.
  • Visa and Health Surcharge: The scholarship covers the cost of inbound visa applications and the Immigration Health Surcharge.
  • Academic Development Funding: Funding ranging from £500 to £2,000 is available to attend conferences, courses, and other academic development activities.
  • Family Allowance: Recipients with children may receive a family allowance of up to £10,944 for one child and up to £15,612 for two or more children.
  • Fieldwork and Maternity/Paternity Funding: Ph.D. scholars may apply to receive their maintenance allowance while conducting fieldwork or during maternity/paternity leave.
  • Hardship Funding: Scholars facing unforeseen difficulties may apply for hardship funding.

Note that if you plan to migrate to the UK for academic purposes, you will need to apply for a Student Visa. More details about the student visa are seen on the government of the UK official website.

FAQs

Are there tuition-free schools in the UK for international students?

No, there are no tuition-free schools in the UK for international students. However, scholarships are available that can cover tuition fees and other expenses.

What should international students do before studying in the UK?

International students planning to study in the UK should plan their funding, research scholarships, organize their student visas, and prepare for British life and culture.

They should also secure student accommodation, obtain appropriate health insurance, open a student bank account, and find affordable communication options.

It’s important to navigate public transport and understand the work restrictions on their student visa.

Conclusion

It is important to acknowledge that studying in the UK for free is possible only through fully-funded scholarships.

However, it is crucial to ensure you have sufficient funds for living expenses and other costs associated with your education.

While some scholarships generously cover tuition fees, you are responsible for your day-to-day expenses and bills. 

By being proactive and well-prepared, you can make the most of the scholarship opportunities available and embark on a successful academic journey in the United Kingdom.