Bursaries, Grants & Scholarships

No undergraduate 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 (check your CamSIS self-service pages for all your advisors) 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. If your financial situation changes, you can speak to your personal Tutor about how to access further support.

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 the University of Cambridge can apply for. Many of these are listed here: https://www.student-funding.cam.ac.uk/

Maintenance Bursaries

Additional support for maintenance costs (e.g. rent, food and other daily living expenses) is provided to Home Fee Status students with household incomes of less than £62,215 (via a combination of the Cambridge Bursary Scheme and Newnham-specific bursaries). For 2021 entrants onwards, bursaries via the Cambridge Bursary Scheme are up to £3,500 per year, on a sliding scale dependent on household income, with additional educational premiums of £1,000 paid to students who have been eligible for Free School Meals.  For students who started in 2020 or earlier, bursaries will be calculated on the same basis, but awarded as a combination of Cambridge Bursary (if eligible) and a Newnham-specific bursary. Further information can be found on the Cambridge Bursary Scheme website.

There is also some discretionary bursary support available, which can be applied for in the first term.

Students with Overseas Fee Status should read Funding for Overseas Students for information on maintenance support.

Rent Bursaries

Any Home Fee Status student with a household income of less than £62,215 will also be awarded a rent bursary of £25 per week of their room licence if living in College (i.e. £750 per academic year for a 30-week termly room licence or £950 per academic year for a 38-week continuous room licence).


Hardship grants

For any financial emergency or welfare/hardship (unexpected or unforeseen circumstances).  These grants can be up to £250.  If you need an emergency hardship grant, you can apply through your Tutor at any time.

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 termly 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. Application forms will be circulated termly by the Tutorial Office.

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.

Research and project 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 postgraduate 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 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. Tutors can also offer advice on other sources of funding for summer travel. Details of how to apply will be circulated in Easter Term.

The Newnham US Committee (mainly alumnae of the College now living in the USA) is offering a substantial travel bursary this year (for the thirteenth year). The winner of this bursary (undergraduate or postgraduate) will receive $5,000 for travel to and within the USA during the summer vacation 2023. Please see this poster for further information.

Application forms for the 2023 competition are available online.

Read an account from a recent recipient of the US Travel Bursary.

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.

Applications should be made using the forms circulated by the Tutorial Office each term.

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.  Students should submit their completion certificate as an Opportunity Grant application for reimbursement (see below).

Research expenses 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.

Applications should be made using the forms circulated by the Tutorial Office each term.

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.

Applications should be made using the forms circulated by the Tutorial Office each term.

Mobility support grants

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.

Funds for Music

Newnham Music Funds

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.

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 postgraduate student of Newnham College who is NOT reading 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. Both undergraduates and postgraduates are 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. Both undergraduates and postgraduates are eligible, except those holding Intercollegiate Instrumental Awards or College choral awards. Forms are circulated from the Tutorial Office in Michaelmas Term, and awards are by audition.

University 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 at Selwyn on Sundays, 50% off the cost of Selwyn 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 can be found on the University website.  Applications are received after offers are made in late January with the application deadline in February and auditions in March.

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, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, piano. (Instrumentalists who play double bass and harp may also apply.) 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.

Inform about applying for the Instrumental Award Scheme can be found on the University website.  Applications are received after offers are made in late January with the application deadline in February.  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 Grants (see the ‘Grants’ tab above) to help meet the cost. These Opportunity Grants can also be applied to for College-level sports expenses.


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 at the start of the following academic year. 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.