About Scholarships & Bursaries

There are a variety of scholarships and bursaries available in NSW and sometimes the variety can be overwhelming. ISSB aims to simplify the process to help connect the best schools and opportunities to the best talent. Many people are unaware of the range of scholarships and bursaries available across New South Wales independent schools, they are not all based around academic ability and range from music, all-rounder, sports and heritage scholarships. When looking for a scholarship it’s good to explore all options to find the right fit for you and your child.

What is a scholarship or bursary?

A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to help them further their education. Scholarships are unique and defined by each independent school on what they include. Schools may have multiple scholarships awarded for different reasons from student character, values or skill-based aptitudes. In general, they offer the remission of all or part of the tuition fees for a period of time and the money does not need to be repaid. Scholarships are available from most independent schools.

A bursary is a ‘means-tested’ scholarship to help families who may have financial difficulties meeting the cost of tuition fees from their preferred school. A confidential financial questionnaire may be required to demonstrate the financial need that would otherwise prevent attendance.

What is the benefit of a scholarship or bursary?

Scholarships and bursaries are available from most independent schools in NSW. Getting a scholarship takes away or subsidies your family’s financial education concerns for your child, giving them a great education at a limited cost. With smaller class numbers and more resources, your child is given more opportunities for skill development and knowledge enhancement.

Why choose an independent education?

Independent schools come in all shapes and sizes, in a myriad of locations across Australia. The common denominator for all of these establishments is the wealth of educational, social and extra-curricular and sporting opportunities that are available. Not to mention the dedication of staff to achieve positive outcomes for their students, and nurture them to be great learners and importantly good people that will make a meaningful impact on the world.

Diversity of choice
The sheer diversity of offerings available at independent schools make them a desirable option when exploring the educational choices available to your child. Students are encouraged to try activities outside their comfort zone, to safely try different things and discover what it is they enjoy and are good at.

Some schools offer more than 25 sports from AFL, surfing, mountain biking, sailing and decathlons to name a few. Coaching staff range from professionally experienced sportspeople, to even ex-Olympians, providing the ultimate mentoring in specific sporting endeavours.

Co-curricular programs
Independent schools feature many high quality, co-curricular
programs to challenge and develop students while complementing their main learning areas. From debating teams, public speaking, sporting competitions, chess club, art, music, drama and literary programs, the activities focus less on theory and more on practical application of skills that build personality, passions and a healthy competitive spirit.

The quality of staff
Almost without exception, every independent school principal credits the expertise and dedication of the staff employed within their fraternity as one of the outstanding reasons to aspire to an education of this type. Many studies globally have found that the key to students’ academic success is quality teaching and leadership. Independent schools employ highly skilled and innovative teachers who are passionate about learning and often work in teams to critically review each other’s lessons and identify opportunities for change and innovation.

There is strong accountability within the teaching staff at independent schools, helping to maintain exacting teaching standards and attract motivated staff who actually want to be there. Independent schools have full say in who they employ and who they let go, allowing them to cull staff who are not meeting the standards expected.

Academic excellence
While independent schools offer a diverse range of programs to build a child’s strengths in many different areas, they are also very focused on academic outcomes and many offer the International Baccalaureate, an internationally recognised education and testing program.

Nurturing goodness as well as excellence
Most independent schools have a religious foundation, ensuring children study in an environment supported by a set of defined values. In general, these values nurture self-discipline, respect for authority, self-reliance, safety, structure and cultural traditions. While, the decision to pursue a scholarship may be based on accessing exceptional resources on a day-to-day basis, many parents choose independent schooling for what kind of people their children become as a result of their attendance. The students not only succeed in their professions, but often take up opportunities to volunteer in a wide range of charitable activities and give back substantially to the world.


How is a scholarship or bursary awarded?

Scholarships are generally open to existing students and prospective ones wishing to attend in the future. They are awarded on a variety of means from academic, boarding, character and skill-based aptitudes such as music, sports or performing arts. Often there will be conditions, or ideals, that the student will be required to uphold in order to retain the scholarship for the given time.

What does the scholarship or bursary process involve?

It can vary greatly from school to school. An exam (academic or practical) along with an interview or audition could be part of the application process. It is very important that you know the specific requirements, so you can prepare your child for what’s expected of them on the day. The ‘testing’ process is necessary so the school can more accurately gauge suitability for a scholarship or bursary.

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