The RCS Cowrie Scholarship is currently closed for applications. It will reopen soon for students starting RCS Music courses in 2024/25 and later for students starting RCS Drama, Dance, Production, and Film courses in 2025/2026. More information will be available on this page in due course.

The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation was set up to enable economically disadvantaged Black African and Caribbean heritage students to attend UK universities. Here you will find all the information needed in order to apply to the fund for support.

The Foundation was established in 2020 by Professor Richard OC Oreffo, who holds the chair of Musculoskeletal Science and is co-founder of the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells & Regeneration at the University of Southampton.

Black British students are under-represented at many of our universities. Individuals from affluent areas are five times more likely than those from deprived areas to attend a high-tariff university ranked in the top third by entry requirements. While many issues are at play in why more Black British students do not enter university, the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation seeks to address one part of the jigsaw: the financial cost of university education.


Professor Richard Cowrie quote

The Award

Scotland’s national conservatoire is the first arts institution to partner with the Cowrie Scholarship Foundation (CSF), which aims to fund up to 100 disadvantaged Black British students through university in the next decade.

The scholarship, which starts next year, will see the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland cover tuition fees for three students over the next ten years, enabling them to study at a world-class institution for performing and production arts education.

The scholarship will cover your home UK tuition fees and a maintenance stipend of up to £8,000 for each year of your course. Recipients will also receive bespoke mentoring for the full time of their studies. The scholarship is tenable for the duration of your programme of study, subject to satisfactory progression.

Access to university should not be limited by race or social class, unfortunately, this is not the case for all in our society. All should have access to an outstanding academic experience.

How to Apply

Eligibility and criteria

Guidelines are available for all prospective applicants.

You must meet all of the following criteria to be considered for this scholarship:

1. Identify as belong to one of the following ethnic groups:

  • Black or Black British – Caribbean
  • Black or Black British – African
  • Mixed – White and Black Caribbean
  • Mixed – White and Black African
  • Other Black background

2. Have firmly accepted an offer of a place by the relevant UCAS deadline on a first undergraduate full time degree programme at Royal Conservatoire Scotland commencing study in the 2022-23 academic year.

3. Have been assessed for fee status as a ‘home’ student.

4. Have a household income of £25,000 per annum or less.

5. Made an application to your regional student funding authority for income assessed UK government financial support for higher education students. The regional student funding authorities are: Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales, Student Finance Northern Ireland and the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.

6. Confirmation you will be in receipt of full financial support for the 2022-23 academic year.

Please ensure you have given consent to share the information with the University, as this information will be used to determine eligibility.


The application process for the scholarship will open 1 April 2022 and will close on 11 June 2022.

Please check your eligibility before making an application. Awards may be withdrawn if we later become aware successful scholars have not met eligibility criteria or to have provided false information.

Download the application form. 

To help us get to know you, we will ask you for a personal statement of around 700 words explaining:

  1. Why the scholarship would be beneficial to your studies.
  2. How it would help you to achieve your academic goals.
  3. How your education would be of future benefit to your community and/or society.
  4. What achievements, academically and personally, are you most proud of? This could include overcoming a challenging personal circumstance. There is no right or wrong answer. We are keen to hear your personal story.

We will also ask you for:

  • Your full name
  • Your University applicant ID number or if not known your UCAS number
  • Your full home address (including Postal Code)
  • Your programme of study
  • Name of the School or College you are currently attending
  • Your ethnicity
  • Your email address
  • Confirmation that you have applied, been assessed for and expect to be in receipt of the maximum level of support from the government through your regional student funding body, Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) or Student Finance (England, Wales or Northern Ireland) for tuition fees and maintenance loans and that you have provided consent to share your information with the University.
  • Confirmation this is your first undergraduate degree programme, and you have not started a degree programme previously
  • Confirmation you understand representatives from The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation will view your application and any submitted documentation as part of the selection process.
  • Agreement that your UCAS references (personal and supporting statements) may be used as part of the selection process.

Information on widening access at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and audition fee waivers. 


A panel of representatives from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will assess applications and compile a shortlist of the strongest applications.  The shortlist will be sent to The Cowrie Scholarship Foundation who will make the final decisions.

All applicants will receive notification by the first week of September. Please do not contact the Foundation as all awards and notifications will come from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.


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