Widening Access Financial Support bursary

You may be eligible for this Widening Access Financial Support bursary if you live in an area of the UK where relatively few young people go on to higher education. This will help you with living and travel costs throughout your time as an undergraduate studying at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU).

Note: Bursary criteria often seem complicated, so please contact the Student Recruitment team if you are unsure whether you are eligible or have any queries. We are here to help you. 

If you are an eligible student, you could receive £1,500 per year for each year of your undergraduate study. Additionally, you will receive an annual travel allowance based on your home's distance from the University.

This bursary also provides financial support to you before you enrol as a student at RAU. This bursary will help you and family members with the costs of transport to and from Cirencester as well as accommodation and food so that you can visit us for open days, offer-holder days or simply to arrange your own visit. 

Other bursaries

Students awarded this Widening Access Financial Support bursary may also be eligible for other means-tested bursaries. Combined together, these could add up to a potential value of £10,500 over a three year course.  

The other bursaries include:

  • RAU Support Bursary:  This provides a bursary of up to £1,000 per year for each year of undergraduate study. If you are eligible for the Widening Access Financial Support bursay, then you will automatically qualify for this bursary.
  • Core Bursary: This provides a bursary of £1,000 per year for each year of undergraduate study. The eligibility for this bursary is based on having a household income of £25,000 or lower. 

Eligibility for the Widening Access Financial Support Bursary

To be eligible for this bursary, you must meet all the following four criteria: 

  • Be a UK resident and a new student entering into your first year of an undergraduate or foundation degree course at the RAU in 2020 (in other words, not previously enrolled on a higher education course)
  • Be entitled to funding from the relevant UK student finance body (for example, Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales) for fees and living costs and have taken out the full loan for 2020/21
  • Have a household income of £42,620 or lower
  • Live in a UK postcode identified as having low progression to higher education according to the Government's POLAR4 data (i.e. Quintile 1 or Quintile 2 postcode). To check if your postcode qualifies, enter your postcode into the Office for Students calculator and refer to the measure POLAR4. This is complicated, so please see the screenshot below. If in any doubt, please email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to help you

Details about the Widening Access Financial Support Bursary

Pre-enrolment (before you start your course)

Eligible students are entitled to reimbursement of reasonable travel costs, accommodation and subsistence (within the financial rates specified in the terms and conditions) for yourself and up to two additional guests for visits, open days or offer-holder days. Receipts must be provided (except mileage claims – see conditions) and reimbursement will occur only after attendance at the RAU event. Please email [email protected] to claim reimbursement.

Post-enrolment (after you have started your course)

Eligible students will receive £1,500 per year living allowance, paid in three equal termly instalments at the same time as student finance payments. This amount will be paid to you over the period of your enrolment at RAU on your undergraduate programme.

You will also be entitled to a travel allowance, also paid in three termly instalments, to go towards the costs of travel to and from your home address and/or travel to the RAU campus during term times. The value of the travel allowance that you will be entitled to is dependent on the distance between your home address and the RAU's Cirencester campus.

Maximum travel allowance rates based on distance between your home address and the Cirencester campus

(distance as measured by reasonable direct route)

Within 50 miles£250 per year
51 - 100 miles£500 per year
101 - 150 miles£750 per year
151 miles or over£1,000 per year

Bursary continuation

The Widening Access Financial Support bursary is payable to you for each of the subsequent years of your course of undergraduate study. It is automatically awarded to students who meet the criteria above and there is no need to formally apply.

Terms and conditions

  • We automatically assess your entitlement for the Widening Access Financial Support bursary based on your home address details provided on your university application and information about your household income provided by the relevant student finance body (eg Student Finance England). However, we can only do this if you consent to share your financial details when you complete your application with the student finance body
  • Reasonable ‘pre-enrolment’ travel costs are claimable at the rates shown below. Travel by rail must be standard class. Domestic flight travel is also claimable if the costs are equivalent to return rail travel and/or return mileage costs
  • Receipts will be required for all expenditure except for mileage claims which will be based on the (return) distance from your home address to the RAU
  • For queries about the reimbursement of ‘pre-enrolment’ travel costs, or to make a claim, please contact [email protected]
  • Reasonable accommodation and subsistence costs will be reimbursed based on the rates shown below
Reimbursement rates
Mileage rates (maximum of one vehicle) via any reasonable direct route45p per mile
Hotel rates (maximum allowable per person)£100 per night
Subsistence (maximum allowable per person)

£10 (breakfast)

£25 (evening meal)

  • The living allowance and travel allowance payments, ‘post enrolment’, are made in three termly instalments and will be made directly to your nominated bank account
  • Students applying for a BSc (Hons) Top-up programme are not eligible for the Widening Access Financial Support bursary
  • Students who are ineligible for this bursary in their first year of their course will remain ineligible

Contact us

For further information, please email: [email protected].