The Foundation’s governors are committed to providing access to an Abingdon education for able boys from families who cannot afford to pay full fees. We do this by offering means-tested financial support known as a ‘bursary’. In essence, a bursary is a discount on the cost of day fees of up to 100%.

Abingdon does not have a large endowment and therefore the Governors are mindful, when bursaries are provided, that there remains an overall fair balance between those benefiting from bursaries and full fee-paying parents, many of whom are also making significant personal sacrifices to fund their children’s education.

The amount of a bursary is not influenced by the academic ability of the pupil but rather by the extent of financial need. A bursary is distinct from a scholarship in that bursaries are given to recognise financial need whereas scholarships are given to recognise outstanding achievement regardless of financial need.

The following questions and answers are intended to address the most common queries. If you have any additional questions please contact the Financial Controller.

What is a bursary?

A bursary is a means-tested reduction of day fees charged by the School. This has the effect of reducing the amount the pupil’s parents, legal guardians or fee payers (‘Parents’) pay for the pupil’s education at Abingdon.

What is covered by a bursary?

A bursary can cover up to 100% of day fees. Day fees cover the teaching costs of an education at Abingdon, lunch and the majority of books and materials. Additional charges are made for examinations, travel on the joint bus service, curriculum trips, certain clubs, revision guides, insurances, specialist support and lessons, and various other items.

Where Parents are offered a bursary in excess of 50%, they are entitled to a pro-rata reduction of the acceptance fee in line with the % of bursary award (subject to a minimum of £250), and there may also be support available to assist with the cost of mandatory curriculum-related trips.

Boarding fees and the cost of additional charges (described above) are not eligible for bursary support (with the exception of mandatory curriculum-related trips for those offered a bursary in excess of 50%).

In which year groups are bursaries available?

Bursaries are available to all pupils at Abingdon School. Pupils in years 7 and 8 at Abingdon Prep School who have accepted a place at Abingdon School are also eligible.

Who decides on the level of bursary awards given?

A bursary panel meets termly to review and discuss all applications for support. The members of the panel are the Headmaster, the Director of Finance and Operations, the Financial Controller, the Director of Admissions and Marketing and a governor.

How is the level of bursary award decided by the bursary panel?

Bursary awards are made following a financial evaluation based on a combination of family income and the value of assets and liabilities. A range of other criteria will also be reviewed including ownership of second properties, number of dependents, additional income potential for those parents not in full time employment, lifestyle and holidays, the potential for additional support from family members, pension contributions, and the ability to release capital where assets and property exist.   

The School does not disclose specific financial thresholds or detailed criteria used in the financial evaluation.

What is the process for applicants?

Parents who are seeking bursarial support for a pupil need to complete a detailed ‘Application for Financial Assistance’ form. This form requires details of income and expenditure, and of assets and liabilities. Parents of boys already attending Abingdon should contact the Financial Controller for the form, whilst Parents of boys who have registered to join the School should contact the Admissions team or tick the appropriate box on their application form.

Parents, existing or prospective, may apply for a bursary at any time of the year and are encouraged to not leave it to the deadline which will have been advised when the application form was sent.

Applicants will then usually have a home visit to discuss their application form in more detail and review supporting documents. The School uses an external company, Bursary Administration Ltd (‘BAL’), to conduct these visits and applicants will be contacted by BAL to arrange a time for a home visit.  

The next step is for the bursary panel to meet, usually once a term, and make a decision which will be communicated as soon as practical. For prospective Parents this will usually be at the same time as feedback is given on the offer, or not, of a place at Abingdon.

Reasons for decisions and any BAL reports are not disclosed.

How often are bursary awards re-assessed?

Bursary awards are reviewed annually when, in the Michaelmas Term, the School sends Parents a request to update their financial information. Existing bursary holders can expect requests for home visits from BAL from time to time.  

The updated information is then reviewed by the bursary panel and awards can be either increased or decreased according to changes in circumstances.

Continuing bursary support is also subject to a pupil making good academic progress, demonstrating satisfactory behaviour, and contributing positively to School life.

In any event, the School seeks to ensure that bursaries support a pupil through all the critical educational hurdles such as the exam years.

Is my son’s application to Abingdon negatively affected by asking for a bursary?

No, applying for a bursary does not affect your son’s application for a place at Abingdon.

Are there restrictions on parents living overseas?

Only UK families are eligible for bursaries. This is not always easy to define but generally a UK family is defined (consistent with our acceptance fee policy) as:  

  • A UK national, resident in the UK; or
  • A non-UK national, resident in the UK with UK owned property with material equity value (not rental); or
  • A person resident in the UK for tax purposes and/or spending more than 6 months a year in the UK; or
  • A UK national working abroad on a defined short-term expat basis with significant UK assets

What must I do if my financial circumstances change?

If you are already in receipt of a bursary then you must advise the School of any important changes in your financial circumstances as soon as possible.

What happens to bursaries in cases of death, divorce or separation?

The School will deal with these difficult situations on a case by case basis and Parents are invited to contact the School directly and in a timely fashion.

Will the same bursary be applied to more than one child from the same family?

In deciding on the level of bursary support that the Parents may require and that the School can afford, it is expected that the same level of support will be offered to each child from that family having taken into account any revised financial circumstances.  

Who will know I have been awarded a bursary?

Those responsible for assessing and administering bursaries will be fully informed about your bursary, but the School keeps this information confidential and does not tell your son. All bursaries are handled extremely confidentially.