Interview with Karen Kennard, Founder of The Scholarship Hub
This week we interviewed Karen Kennard, Founder of The Scholarship Hub (a social enterprise which helps students to find and apply for scholarships, grants and bursaries). She told us why she started the Scholarship Hub and what it can do to help students make higher education more affordable.
Why did you start the Scholarship Hub?
When my eldest son was applying to university we started to receive information about scholarships once he had accepted his offers from the universities he had chosen. This was the first time we were even aware that scholarships for university existed. Throughout the whole application process, nobody had mentioned them to us and when I started looking in to it I discovered there were lots of them and no single place to look for them all. The universities promote their own scholarships, but there are many others offered by other organisations which often struggle to get applicants.
How many scholarships are out there?
The number of scholarships changes all the time. We estimate that there is currently about £150 million pounds worth of scholarships for UK/EU students. You can find the up-to-date scholarships on the website.
Absolutely not. There are scholarships offered for all sorts of reasons including financial need, such as academic merit, where you come from, sporting or musical achievement, your religious or family background, your career aspirations. Many others which are open to all students regardless of where or what they are studying.
What do you have to do to get a scholarship?
Some scholarships from universities will be automatically awarded to you, but others, you will have to apply for, including those which are offered by other organisations such as companies, charities, trusts and professional associations. The applications might comprise an essay or answering some questions and occasionally you will be invited for an interview.
What are my chances of winning a scholarship?
You might be surprised that organisations offering scholarships are not always inundated with applicants and the chances of winning one are much higher than you might expect. However, that does not mean that there is a scholarship for everyone, but if you don’t apply, you definitely won’t be winning one.
What is Funds4Uni?
Funds4Uni is a partnership we have created with easy fundraising which allows students to fundraise towards their university costs. All you have to do is register yourself as a fundraising cause and then you can invite your friends and family to support you. You and your supporters will generate free donations towards your university costs from over 3,500 retailers every time you shop online via Funds4Uni. You can find out more here!
What's your top tip for students applying to university right now?
I would advise all students, whether they’re applying now or when they are at university, to keep an eye out for scholarships they could be eligible for. Scholarships are not only offered to prospective students so you could be making applications throughout your degree. It is important to not just think in terms of the university you are studying at or the subject you are studying as there are many that are open to all students. It might seem like a lot of effort, but with the average scholarship being worth around £1,500, it would take you a lot longer to earn that money working on the checkout.