Bursaries, Grants & Scholarships

No-one should be prevented from fulfilling their academic potential because of costs. This page tells you about the many ways that the University of Cambridge and Newnham College will help with the costs of student life, especially for people with lower incomes or with additional needs.


This is not money that you need to pay back – once you are awarded these bursaries and grants, the money is yours.

All Newnham students have a Tutor who can help you find the grants you need.

Newnham College knows that there are additional expenses that come with studying (books, equipment, travel), and we offer grants for those too. Our College book grants, travel grants, equipment grants, opportunity grants and grants for music and sport are not means tested, and are available to current undergraduates from the UK, EU and Overseas.

We also know that circumstances change. Newnham College takes financial support for students seriously all year round, not just at the official closing dates for student bursaries. If your financial situation changes, or you find that your grant is not covering what it is intended to cover, you can speak to people about the situation.

To reward outstanding academic performance by our students in their Tripos exams, we also award generous scholarships and prizes.

There are many other grants, bursaries and prizes that all members of Cambridge University can apply for. Many of these are listed here: https://www.student-funding.cam.ac.uk/

Newnham Bursaries

Newnham offers substantial bursaries for students. These are then ‘topped up’ with our student rent bursaries (see below).

We know that people with family incomes just above cut-off points for other grants can be particularly vulnerable, and so we particularly target our bursaries at those on small grants, or who have just missed out on grants from other sources.

We are fortunate to be able to offer a large number of named bursaries that are awarded on hardship grounds. They range in value from £200 to £2000, and may be held in addition to a Cambridge Bursary, as well as by students not eligible for Cambridge Bursaries because of slightly higher household income; each case is assessed individually.

All Home undergraduates are eligible (overseas students (including EU students) in difficulties may be helped from other funds, where the hardship could not have been foreseen).  Applications for College Bursaries are made in October, once students are in residence, but if you are an offer holder and worried about finances, you are welcome to contact the Admissions Office in advance for advice.

Cambridge Bursaries

The University of Cambridge offers bursaries to Home Undergraduate Students to help them meet the cost of their Cambridge education.

Information regarding the Cambridge Bursary can be found on the funding pages of the University website.

The Cambridge Bursary is then ‘topped up’ with our student rent bursaries (see below).

In addition to a Cambridge Bursary, you may hold a Newnham Bursary (see above).

Bursaries are automatically awarded to eligible students who have applied to Student Finance, with no additional application needed. Year Abroad students who are paying a tuition fee are also eligible for Cambridge Bursaries.

Student Rent Bursaries

Newnham operates a system of rent bursaries for all students in receipt of either a Cambridge or Newnham Bursary, including EU students (to be confirmed in March 2021).

Students receiving a Cambridge Bursary (see above) are given an automatic Rent Bursary.  Newnham Bursary holders, not in receipt of a Cambridge Bursary, will have discretionary Rent Bursary of £100-£500.

These bursaries are deducted from the Lent Term College bill just after Christmas, and range from £100 (for those on full government and Cambridge Bursary support) to £500 (for those with small government grants and Cambridge Bursaries).

Around a third of all Newnham undergraduates are in receipt of a rent bursary.

Support is also given to bursary-holders in their final year if they wish to remain in College accommodation for part of the Easter vacation to revise.

Mobility support

We are able to offer some financial assistance to those with mobility problems (either temporary or otherwise) on production of receipts for taxi fares etc; please contact your Tutor for information about how to apply.

Student book grants

While Newnham has an unusually well-resourced College library, you may also need to buy certain key books for your studies.

Students can apply annually (at the beginning of the Lent Term) for grants towards the cost of essential books (new or second-hand).

You must have bought the books before submitting your application (books bought since the last round of book grants may be included) and submit receipts with the application, which has to be approved by your Director of Studies.

Typically the College awards 50-60% of the cost of the books purchased up to an upper limit, which is currently £250.

First-year medical students have a separate fund, the Brett Fund, and may not apply to both sources to fund the same books. There is a special Sheila Edmonds fund to support book grants for student mathematicians.

Student travel grants and the US travel bursary

Newnham has a wide range of funds to support travel costs in the vacations.

Some of our funds are subject-specific, such as the Ann Duncan Fund (for MML students wishing to improve their oral skills by travelling during Christmas and Easter vacations), and the various funds supporting medically-related travel and electives at both undergraduate and graduate level. Geographers and geologists can also benefit from generous funding, as well as archaeologists and those undertaking Asian studies.

Outside of subject-specific funds, Newnham’s normal travel grants for academic- or career-related travel range in value from £320-£460, with a small number of awards of up to £1000 available for particularly interesting and ambitious projects. The Financial Tutor can also offer advice on other sources of funding for summer travel.

Please read the supporting information for the Travel Grants 2019. Application forms are available online or from outside the Tutorial & Admissions Office.

The Newnham US Committee (mainly alumnae of the College now living in the USA) is offering a substantial travel bursary this year (for the eleventh year running). The winner of this bursary (undergraduate or graduate) will receive $4,000 for travel to and within the USA during the summer vacation. Please see the poster.

Application forms for the 2020 competition are available from outside the Tutorial & Admissions office or here.

Read an account from the 2019 recipient.

Student equipment grants

The student equipment grants provide several small grants termly for medical, scientific or other technical equipment for the individual use of undergraduate or postgraduate students; this includes clinical equipment grants (for stethoscopes etc).

Architects have particular equipment needs, and are guaranteed at least £300 per year from the equipment funds, on production of receipts.

To download the application form for the Student Equipment Grant click here.

Funds for language courses

You may choose to study an optional language course with the University Language Centre. These optional courses require a small fee.

We are also able to offer grants of 50% of the cost of language courses run by the University Language Centre, to a maximum of one course per term.

Research expense grants

This fund is intended to make small grants for term-time expenses associated with dissertation or project work. Examples might be fares to London to visit a museum, or special copying expenses, or a small grant towards attending a conference.

Grants up to £50 will be made immediately on the recommendation of the Director of Studies; larger sums will be considered termly by the Undergraduate Grants and Awards Committee.

To download the Application for Academic & Research Grants click here.

Funds for music

The College has several music funds, used to provide the College’s contribution to the University Instrumental Award Scheme, to support the College’s own music awards, described below, and to provide choral scholarships for Newnham students. For all questions concerning music in College, please contact the Director of Music (dmm36@cam.ac.uk).

The Leslie Betts Fund provides a small number of grants (normally not more than £90 each) for musical purposes, e.g. music lessons, active participation in the performance of music, or travel expenses for the latter. Any resident undergraduate or graduate student of Newnham College who is NOT reading for the Music Tripos is eligible to apply to the Betts Fund.

Newnham appoints Music Organisers to be responsible for organising College concerts in collaboration with the Senior Music Advisors and the Raleigh Music Society. Duties include organising: the lunchtime recital series; occasional orchestral or choral concerts; Music at Advent; and sung grace for the College Feast. Each year, the College seeks to appoint a Junior Music Organiser and a Senior Music Organiser. The appointments commence in January and run for one year, with the possibility, for the Junior, of renewal for a further year as the Senior. An honorarium of £100 is paid, plus an allowance of £80 towards music lessons. Undergraduates, postgraduates and graduates are all eligible, except those in their final year or on one-year courses. Intercollegiate Instrumental Award and Choral Award holders are eligible, but if both awards are held, only the honorarium will be paid.

The College also offers a number of Instrumental/Vocal awards of £150 each towards music lessons. These are awarded early in the Michaelmas Term. Undergraduates, postgraduates and graduates are all eligible, except those holding Intercollegiate Instrumental Awards or College choral awards. Forms are available from the Tutorial Office early in the Michaelmas Term, and awards are by audition.

Choral Awards

Newnham College does not have a chapel (our co-founder, Henry Sidgwick, wanted the College to be open to students of all faiths and none), so our Choral Scholars sing in the choir at Selwyn College, just across the road.

Choral Award holders (known as Choral Scholars) receive a small financial award each year, currently £100. At Newnham, as in most Colleges, Choral Scholars also receive a subsidy towards singing lessons (currently £350 per year). They also get: a free meal on Sundays, 50% off the cost of Formal Halls after Evensong on weekdays, free accommodation if they are in College out of termtime on choir duties, subsidised choir tours, and free day trips for concerts around the country.

Every year there are University Open Days for prospective Choral Award applicants. These normally take place in the first week of May, and if you are interested, it’s a good idea to try and attend. You can find information about how to apply for the University Choral Awards and the next Choral Award Open Day on the University website.  Choral Scholars do not have to be reading Music for their degree; however, the choir will take up a fair proportion of your time, so it’s important to be realistic about the demands of your course. That’s why we recommend that prospective Choral Award applicants attend an academic Open Day, either the University days, or a College event.

Information about the Choral Award scheme and the application process (which takes place shortly after offers have been made) can be found on the University website.

University Instrumental Awards

University Instrumental Awards are intended to enable gifted players to reach a high standard of performance in chamber music playing. These are organised by the University.

Award holders are expected to give priority to rehearsals (about 6 hours per week) with their ensemble. Professional coaching is provided for all ensembles free of charge.

In addition to the Award itself, the Scheme is normally able to offer Award-holders modest subsidies towards the cost of individual instrumental lessons.Instrumental Awards are open to performers on any of the following: violin, viola, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, piano. The Awards are intended for candidates who are qualified to read the subject of their choice and have outstanding ability as instrumental performers; a Distinction at Grade VIII of the Associated Board may be regarded as the minimum level of achievement. Holders of organ or choral awards are ineligible.

If you indicate in your application that you are interested in applying for an Instrumental Award and you are offered a place at Newnham, you will be sent information on how to apply. Further details and an online application form will be available on the University website in March. Auditions will be held at the beginning of October, just before the start of your first term.

Funds for sport

Newnham has a range of financial support on offer for sport.

For our own sports clubs, grants are jointly provided by the JCR and MCR. Both also offer grants to University-level sportswomen: typically these will pay for the cost of club subscriptions, plus a proportion of essential kit costs and other training expenses. For other expenses (such as training camps and sports-related accommodation out of term), undergraduates can apply for Opportunity Funds (see below) to help meet the cost. These Opportunity Funds can also be applied to for College-level sports expenses.

Opportunity Grants

The Opportunity Grant is intended ‘to enable students to do what they would otherwise be unable to do’. Grants have been made in the past for specialised courses (not necessarily related to a student’s academic subject), and for various sports and recreations.

To download the Opportunity Grant Application form click here.


Scholarships and prizes

Excellent academic performance is rewarded with both scholarships and prizes at Newnham. If you are staying on for a further year of study (either as undergraduate or postgraduate), a first-class result in the summer exams will be rewarded with a scholarship of £500. Students gaining firsts for all or part of an exam, in any year, may be awarded one or more prizes of £50 or £100, on the recommendation of their Director of Studies.