Financial support and cost-effective living

Financial support and cost-effective living

The costs of university study can sometimes seem overwhelming. At Cambridge, we offer a range of financial support to help you manage the cost of your studies. This support includes bursary schemes, scholarships and awards, all of which are offered in addition to any government support you might be eligible for. Read on for more details, along with some tips about how to budget and save money while you’re a student at Cambridge.

Financial Support

There are many different University and College support options alongside the usual government financial support offered which you can look into before you apply:

The Cambridge Bursary Scheme

The Cambridge Bursary Scheme offers financial support to help eligible students manage their living costs throughout their undergraduate degree. It does not need to be paid back, and can be given in addition to any other financial help you are receiving. You can find out more about the scheme here

There are also additional scholarships that those awarded the Cambridge Bursary can be considered for.

Music awards

If you sing or play an instrument, and would like to further this at Cambridge, you may like to apply for one of our music awards. The awards vary, but all include a small financial contribution and professional coaching and/or music lessons – you can read more about these awards here

Sport scholarships

Students who compete in a sport at national/international level may also be able to access a range of scholarships and bursaries to support their studies. Find out more on the University Sport website.

Travel awards

The University usually offers a range of funds to support students who will be travelling abroad during their degree. Students travelling for activities such as volunteer work, medical electives and language courses were able to apply for this funding in 2021. More information about the awards available and how to apply can be found here.

Financial hardship support

For students who find themselves in exceptional circumstances or who are in need of extra financial assistance, there’s a variety of sources of financial support. The support currently available can be found here. The Cambridge Colleges can often offer additional support and advice.

College support

As well as University level financial support options, you might be able to get extra support from your chosen College. Sources of College funding may include book and equipment grants, travel grants, scholarships and prizes for achievement and grants and loans for unforeseen financial difficulties. Each College has a Financial Tutor who can offer guidance on costs and advice about College support. Check the individual College websites to see what support they currently have available. 

More information about financial support at Cambridge can be found on our Financial Support page.

“My financial concerns were dealt with through College support and the Cambridge Bursary. You shouldn't be put off applying to university because of finances!”

Meg, Sheffield

Cost-effective living

Moving away from home can be expensive, and managing your own money can be daunting. However, there are things you can do to help you live cost-effectively: 


Think about planning your spending in advance. Terms at Cambridge only run for eight weeks each, meaning that you’ll be budgeting for less time than you might be at other universities. 


The Cambridge Colleges encourage you to eat in College alongside fellow students, and all offer reasonably priced meals. You’ll often have access to basic self catering facilities too. Some of our Colleges include a number of meals in their accommodation costs, while others allow you to pay for meals in advance helping you to plan your budget. Check individual College websites to see what the arrangements are at your chosen College. 


Travelling around Cambridge is easy and cheap. Most students use a bike to travel to and from their classes and many of our Colleges and departments are only walking distance from each other which means you won’t have to budget for train and bus journeys. Cambridge is a relatively small city, and luckily for cyclists is very flat. Once you’ve bought your bike, travel across the city is free!


Each College has their own library which can be used for research and independent study, and there is also the University Library open to students. Many libraries will also have their own computer rooms which you are welcome to use throughout your course. These facilities may save you from having to purchase necessary books or IT equipment. The University Information Service offers free email accounts and file storage, free software including Microsoft Office and McAfee antivirus protection and free IT training courses.

Social life

Colleges have their own sports teams and leisure facilities such as a gym, and some even have a pool or cinema. These are available to students for a small cost or sometimes for free, which could be more cost effective than joining a local gym or sports team. Many students also choose to socialise in College, in the bar or common rooms which is a cheap way to have fun with your friends.

Our Living Costs page is a useful place to find out more about the general costs of living as a student at Cambridge. 

“I love how compact Cambridge is - everything is close enough to walk or cycle, so it's really easy to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle.”

Stella, Chester

Take a look at our Student Finance video and visit our website for more information about the financial support available at Cambridge. 

This is a brief overview of the support currently available to our students. Please make sure to check the website for the most up to date information before making an application or accepting an offer to study at Cambridge.