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Our University Bursary helps postal families support a young person at a university or equivalent institution in the UK. The bursary is there to help cover student expenses so that the student can focus on their education.

How much is the bursary?
£1,950 per year for a maximum of 3 years.

An additional one-off Brian Thomson award is available for first year students of up to £600. This is to support the purchase of necessary course materials and equipment that they could otherwise not afford (e.g. laptop, medical textbooks, music software). It is awarded at the trustees’ discretion based on the information provided in the university bursary application form.

When do I apply?
Applications are open each year from May to July. This year applications close on the 14th July.
Receive a reminder when the application window closes by joining our newsletter.

Who can apply?
Royal Mail or Post Office employee or pensioner (including a spouse or partner) who is responsible for a child under the age of 20.
Employees must have worked for a minimum of 2 years to be eligible to apply.
Please refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section below for information about how University Bursary applications are assessed by the trustees.

Reminder: To stop our emails going to your email junkbox, please ensure postalfamilyfund@royalmail.com and sec.postalfamilyfund@royalmail.com have both been added to your email safe list.

How to Apply

Your application will be dealt with in strict confidence. It will only be seen by members of the Postal Family Fund.

University Bursary Application Form
Check Eligibility

Please check the University Bursary eligibility criteria before you apply.

Create Account

Create a Postal Family Fund account to access your application form.

Complete Application

Fully complete the application form. We’ll then get in touch and request supporting documents.

Trustee Review

Your application will be reviewed by our trustees who will announce their decision by writing to you.

A postman's son forges a career in top IT consultancy

Manjit Ugra has worked at Slough delivery office for almost 30 years. He successfully secured funding from the Postal Family Fund for his son Jay to study economics at the University of Birmingham. Jay said, ‘I’m hugely grateful to the Postal Family Fund. I’d saved up since I was born to go to university, but I still couldn’t have afforded to go without the extra help. Had I taken a year out, I might have missed out on Capgemini’s placement scheme.’

Read Jay's story

Chelsie lands dream paramedic job thanks to university bursary

After hearing about the scheme from a colleague, dad Graham applied and was awarded a bursary, allowing his daughter to complete a three-year paramedic science degree. ‘It’s been a great achievement for Chelsie,’ said Graham, who is a postman in Wales. ‘I’d definitely recommend the Postal Family Fund to anyone thinking of applying. It’s been a huge help to us.’ Chelsie Read is now a qualified paramedic working for the South Western Ambulance service in Bristol.

Read Chelsie's story

Gurkha's daughter studies at top London university

With the support of a University Bursary from the Postal Family Fund, 19-year-old Sumnima Rai started a BSc Psychology course at Goldsmiths, University of London. Sumnima’s father, Sumendra Rai, said “The Postal Family Fund bursary has helped my family immensely. My wife and I have part-time jobs and we could not have supported our daughter’s further education without their help.”

Read Sumnima's story

FAQs - University Bursary

Which courses are eligible for a University Bursary award?

Study must be for a first degree or equivalent course. First degree normally means a bachelors or equivalent degree. An equivalent course may be a Foundation degree, HND, Diploma of Higher Education or HNC. Those studying for a masters degree will not be eligible unless their course is equivalent to a first degree, e.g. a four year undergraduate qualification. If you have any questions about the eligibility of the course then please contact the secretary on sec.postalfamilyfund@royalmail.com

How do the Trustees assess the application?

Trustees review each application across a number of areas, including the student’s statement, and then give a total score based on their judgement in each of these areas. It is based on the judgement of each individual Trustee. The Trustees then submit their returns to the Chairman and Secretary and a subcommittee of Trustees then meet to agree the final allocation of bursaries.

What are the Trustees looking for when assessing a University Bursary application?

We will look at the hardship faced by the family in supporting the young person at University. The trustees will look at household income after making allowances for rent or mortgage. Any exceptional expenditure may be considered if details are provided. A family with a single parent or one where the children are being cared for by grandparents will be considered. Disability or chronic illness of a parent or parents is another factor and so is disability or chronic illness of the student or a sibling. Evidence of any difficulties encountered by the student in his or her education or upbringing will be considered and evidence of any volunteering or out of school activities are other factors. The student statement is very important because this gives the Trustees an insight into the motivation and achievements of the student and their hopes and ambitions. 

What evidence is needed and when?

All payments are subject to university reports confirming entry and subsequent registration/attendance and continuation of studies. A report with evidence of registration must be submitted for each of the subsequent payments: spring and autumn. By the end of January for the spring payment and by the end of September for the autumn payment. If the evidence of registration is not received by Postal Family Fund by the dates specified, then the payment will be deferred to the next payment date. If a claim is not received by Postal Family Fund by the 28th February or the 31st October for the respective spring or autumn payments, then the Trustees of Postal Family Fund reserve the right to cancel that instalment of the bursary along with any remaining bursary payments.

How is the decision made?

The Trustees can exercise their discretion. It is therefore important that the application form is fully completed, and all relevant information included, on which the Trustees will base their decision. 

When will I know the result of my application?

All the results will be sent out at approximately the same time, around the end of September each year. Results will be sent to the applicant parent or guardian given on the form.

Note: To stop our emails going to your email junkbox, please ensure postalfamilyfund@royalmail.com and sec.postalfamilyfund@royalmail.com have both been added to your email safe list.

What will be paid and how?

The university bursary will be paid in two equal instalments usually during November and in late March. The money is paid directly into a bank account.

What happens if my child has taken up a placement year?

Payment will not apply to any placement year e.g. for work experience, for which the student receives payment if employed under a contract of employment. In such cases the award will be deferred until after the placement year has been completed and the student has returned to the university for full time study (and proof of registration has been received by Postal Family Fund). The student must write to the Trustees of Postal Family Fund not later than the 30th of April if a ‘placement year’ is to be taken at the start of or during the following academic year and authority obtained to defer the payment of any remaining element of the award.

My child’s degree course has an academic year outside the UK. Will this affect the bursary payment?

If the course involves an academic year (or a substantial part of a year) spent outside the UK then the bursary can still be paid, but only to a UK bank account. We will require evidence that the period spent outside the UK is part of the degree course.

Can previous years of study be paid for?

Bursary payments cannot be paid for previous years, or part thereof, on any course i.e. no retrospective payments prior to the date of the award.

Can I appeal a decision?

The decision of the Trustees is final. There is no right of appeal. This bursary being a charitable gift does not form part of the applicant’s contract of employment with Royal Mail or Post Office Ltd. Postal Family Fund is an independent organisation with charitable status and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (reference 37-BEN).

Our History

Supporting postal families for over 150 year

Formerly known as The Post Office Orphans Benevolent Institution (POOBI), the Postal Family Fund is a charitable organisation that helps Royal Mail Group & Post Office Ltd families with children who are experiencing difficulties and are in need of a little extra support.

The charity was established in 1870 by staff from the General Post Office (a forerunner of Royal Mail Group& Post Office Ltd) to help the families of their colleagues who faced hardship as a result of death or chronic illness or disability.

Find out more

"I am very proud of what Jay has achieved and am extremely grateful for the Postal Family Fund's financial support. I would wholeheartedly encourage others to take advantage of this incredible opportunity."

Manjit Ugra - Postal Worker

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