Participation Bursaries.


Bursaries are now closed. They will re-open in the next academic year. 

NUSU is committed to ensuring students can take full advantage of their time at university. We recognise that financial obstacles can arise which prevent students from accessing the activities we offer. The Participation Bursary, which is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, aims to remove these barriers to participation by helping cover some of the costs of getting involved. Students can receive up to £280* per academic year. 

Since September 2021, around 500 undergraduate students have received this bursary. Unfortunately, this also means that we have now run out of funds to further support undergraduate students. Please do not submit an application. We will reopen the scheme to UG students in 2022/2023 academic year. You can only apply for the bursary if you are a postgraduate taught/research student at Newcastle University.  Applications are judged on a case-by-case basis and we use the University’s Access and Participation Plan to help us in our assessment.

What can you use this for?

You can use this bursary to cover any costs you incur that prevent you from more fully participating with us at NUSU. This may be in the form of expenditure that goes towards your accommodation, travel, or childcare responsibilities. It can go towards paying for a society/club membership or towards the cost of activities run by them or even towards registering for a Give It A Go Activity.

The Participation Bursary can support you with Club/Society membership and participation costs, funding a club or society trip, and purchasing sports kits/equipment. This is not an exhaustive list. More examples can be found here.


To be eligible for a NUSU Participation Bursary, you must be a registered Stage 0/1/2 student (incl. PGT & PGR Students) and meet at least one of the eligibility criteria below. 

Eligibility Criteria  

Further information 

Evidence required 

You receive a 2021/22 Opportunity Scholarship from Newcastle University 

This can be either the partial or full scholarship. 

You must provide a scanned copy of your ‘Bursary and Scholarship Entitlement for Academic Year 2021/22 letter from Newcastle University as part of your application. 

You are a care experienced student 

You must have spent at least 3 months in local authority care.  

None required as part of your application. Your status as a care leaver must have been declared as part of your UCAS application; this will be confirmed with the universities designated care leaver contact. 

You are disabled or have a long-term illness 

You must be in receipt of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) OR Medical Evidence Form.  

You must provide a copy of your PIP decision letter OR your annual updating letter if your decision letter is more than twelve months old.


We also accept Medical Evidence Forms (which are supplied by Student Health and Wellbeing Service and completed by a GP. If a student has a disability or long-term illness and wants to access support, then they can contact Student Health and Wellbeing Service here.

You are a young carer or a parent? 

You must be looking after a relative or friend who has a long-term illness or disability or misuses substances. 

You must provide a document (on headed paper) confirming your status as a carer which can be one of the following: 

  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Carer’s Allowance statement/letter 
  • Carer’s support group 
  • Social Services/Local Authority 
  • Your relative’s NHS or Private Support Worker 
  • A letter from your GP 

You are an estranged student 

You would be eligible if you are a young person who is living independently of your parents/guardians and has no communicative relationship with either of your biological parents/legal guardians and you do not expect this situation to be reconciled. 

You must provide a document (on headed paper) confirming your status as an estranged student which can be one of the following: 

  • Estranged student support group/network, such as StandAlone or the Unite Foundation 
  • Social Services/Local Authority 
  • A letter from your GP 
  • A statement from your school/college 

You are a mature student 

You would be eligible if you are a mature student who is starting their first undergraduate degree. This will mean?students who are over 21 years of age at the beginning of their?undergraduate studies 


You must provide ID, confirming your date of birth, through one of the following -  

  • Passport  
  • Driving license  
  • Birth Certificate 

You would also need to provide evidence of your registration at the university. A letter from your department stating when you started your course will suffice, provided you were over 21 years of age when starting your degree. 

You are a Black, Asian or Minority (BAME) Ethnic student 

You are eligible for the Participation Bursary, if you are from a BAME background. 

This criterion is fulfilled if you belong to one of following ethic groups 

  • Black or Black British – Caribbean 
  • Black or Black British – African 
  • Other Black background 
  • Asian or Asian British – Indian 
  • Asian or Asian British – Pakistani 
  • Asian or Asian British – Bangladeshi 
  • Chinese 
  • Other Asian background 
  • Mixed White and Black Caribbean 
  • Mixed White and Black African 
  • Mixed White and Asian 
  • Other Mixed background 
  • Arab 
  • Other Ethnic background 

State your ethnicity. We ask everyone applying to state this. 

Gypsy, Roma or Traveller 

You are eligible for the Participation Bursary if you are from a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller community.  

You must provide a document (on headed paper) confirming your status as a member of the Gypsy, Roma or Traveller community by your school or college that you have attended. 



You are eligible for the Participation Bursary if you have refugee status. 

You have been given permission to stay in the UK, and granted official ‘refugee status’. You should have a letter?from?UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to confirm this. Please provide this as evidence. 


Military Families 


You are eligible for the Participation Bursary if either/both of your parents/carers are serving or have served?in the armed forces at key educational times. You are also eligible if?you have served in the armed forces. 

The British Armed Forces consist of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army , Royal Air Force, Regular Reserves, Volunteer Reserves, and Sponsored Reserves 

You must provide a document (on headed paper) from your school or college confirming which armed forces your parent(s) or you have served in. 


Home Postcode  






To be eligible you must live in a neighbourhood that has a low progression rate to higher education and has a high level of financial, social or economic deprivation. 

Proof of address –  

  • Student loan letter of offer from Student Loan Company 
  • Phone bill  
  • Bank statement  

We will check your home postcode to determine eligibility using POLAR and IMD data.  We ask everyone applying to state their home postcode. 

You are Commuter/Live at Home Student 


You are eligible for the Participation Bursary if you live alone or cohabit with non-students (eg – parents, family, legal guardians etc) and/or the time taken to travel to campus greater than a 30-minute walk. 

Proof of address:

  • Student loan letter of offer from Student Loan Company 
  • Phone bill  
  • Bank statement  
  • Confirmation of home address of your parent/guardian 
  • Letter of confirmation of your term address from the university 

Prioritising Eligible Applicants 

First priority given to Care Leavers, Young Carers, PIP students, Estranged Students, Refugee Status Students, Military Families Students and Gypsy, Roma or Traveller Students as they have very specific, difficult circumstances and are most underrepresented as such. Attention is then given to students that come from neighbourhoods (using postcode provided) that generally have a low progression rate to higher education in addition to a high level of financial, social or economic deprivation. These students may or may not receive the Opportunity Scholarship recipients, may or may not be a BAME background, and may or may not be a Commuting student. 

When looking at students according to home postcode- students have to qualify under both IMD and POLAR metrics as the Higher Education regulator, the Office for Students makes it clear not to singularly use the POLOR metric when assessing applications regarding financial assistance. 

There are levels of the bursary for which a student can apply for. These levels are based on the different joining fees of NUSU clubs and societies in addition to other costs a student may incur for their participation.

  1. Tier 1 offers a £120 bursary
  2. Tier 2 offers a £180 bursary
  3. Tier 3 offers up to £280 capped bursary

Our research shows that the Tier 1 amount can adequately assist the student in covering the cost of participating with NUSU societies and other NUSU activities such as Give It A Go and Go Volunteer. However, if a student wishes to join the sports centre and/or a NUSU club, then we recommend applying for the Tier 2 amount. If a student feels that they require less or more than the previous two levels of the bursary on offer, then they should apply for Tier 3 and account for these costs in their application.

* These amounts may change at the discretion of the Student Union and the information on this page will be updated accordingly.

Inclusive Newcastle provides a wide range of services aimed to remove potential barriers you may face when participating in Activities here at NUSU.

Sometimes it's a bit of extra support, assistance, or reassurance to get involved, so please talk to us - we're keen to support your journey here at Newcastle University. If you want to know more, get in touch with us, at