Foreword

Congratulations on your success in gaining a prestigious award from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC). I urge you to do all you can to make the very most of this opportunity to develop your academic talent, research and experience.

I am confident that you will. My fellow Commissioners and I reviewed your application – along with hundreds of others – very carefully. We were looking for people with many talents: intellectual ability, so you would succeed in your studies; a personal commitment to development and to making a contribution to your nation’s and region’s success; and the potential for leadership and influence, for the common good – for the ‘common-wealth’.

At this time of great upheaval, with nations across the Commonwealth being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more vital than ever that we continue to put health and wellbeing at the forefront of everything we do. The CSC has worked closely with UK universities on arrangements to ensure you feel supported during your scholarship and can access the necessary guidance to navigate any difficulties you may face. The CSC is regularly updating its guidance to provide you with the most up-to-date information. Your welfare and safety are of paramount importance. So, please stay informed as situations change by reading mailings from the CSC, visiting the CSC website, and maintaining contact with your Programme Officer. This Handbook covers normal CSC policy however there may be changes due to the uncertainty caused by Covid-19. The CSC Secretariat will update you on any such changes, please ensure that you read all correspondence.

I hope that you will really enjoy your time experiencing life and learning at a UK university. Many other Scholars and Fellows have, over the past 60 years of the scholarship scheme, created memories that endure. I am sure you will have a wonderful time and create your own lasting memories too. I encourage you to find out about and participate in the many CSC events, networks, and other activities: join your Regional Network, register for our workshops and lectures, join us at events with the UK Parliament and other areas of interest – and maybe start your own initiative, such as a journal club, research conference, or charity event.

My fellow Commissioners and I look forward to meeting you either remotely or in person and to hearing about your progress and interests. When you finish your award, we will also keep in touch with you as an active member of our alumni network. Please remember to keep telling us about your achievements, as well as encouraging other talented Commonwealth citizens to consider applying for one of our scholarships or fellowships. As Commonwealth Scholars and future alumni, you will be inspiring role models for them.

This Handbook is designed to be of use to you throughout your award. It explains our administrative arrangements and contains general information about the CSC. It also sets out the rules we will abide by to ensure fairness and equity in the delivery of our programmes.

Please make this Handbook the first point of enquiry if you need to know something about your award. If questions remain after reading the Handbook, please, of course, contact your Programme Officer at the CSC Secretariat.

I am confident that your time as a Commonwealth Scholar will be immensely rewarding. On behalf of all of the Commissioners and our Secretariat, I wish you success. Our aspiration for you is that you will continue to thrive in your academic and professional career and that your experience studying at a UK institution will boost your personal contribution to the development of your country in numerous ways.

Richard Middleton
Chair – Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom


Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK

As of March 2021
Chair
Richard Middleton
Commissioners
Professor Madeleine Arnot | Ms Anisa Dhanji | Professor Sarah Hawkes | Professor Kevin Ibeh | Professor Paul Jackson | Professor Parmjit Singh Jat | Ms Emma Judge | Dr Catherine MacKenzie | Professor Morag McDonald | Professor Nuala McGrath | Dr Christine Thuranira-McKeever | Professor Alfredo Saad Filho | Professor James Smith | Professor John Wood
Executive Secretary
Dr Joanna Newman MBE FRSA
Director of Operations
Dr Jonathan Jenkins
Senior Project Manager – British Council
Becky Hayes

The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent manner. For more information, including the CSC’s Anti-Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Policy and procedure and complaints procedure, visit the UK government page on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK.

Administration

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSC) is the body appointed by Act of Parliament to supervise the operation of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) in the UK. The CSC is responsible for setting policy, making selections, and providing general direction. Day-to-day administration is undertaken by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), which provides the CSC Secretariat. The CSC Secretariat is responsible for providing all on-award administration, as well as assisting the CSC with selecting candidates for Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships, securing university placements for them, and supervising their studies. The CSC Secretariat is also responsible for on-award payments, travel, and welfare. The British Council is responsible for providing a pre-departure briefing and is involved in working with our alumni overseas.

Handbook

This Handbook explains the regulations for the administration of Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships in the United Kingdom. These regulations do not apply to Commonwealth Shared Scholarships, Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships, or Commonwealth Rutherford Fellowships. Regulations may be changed without notice during the term of a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship and any changes will apply with immediate effect.

This Handbook provides general guidelines only and does not cover in detail every aspect of all awards. You and your supervisors/hosts should always check with the CSC Secretariat, after consulting the Handbook, about specific issues. Your Notification of Award will detail any conditions specifically applicable in your case.

Programme Officers

Your Notification of Award names your Programme Officer. You should contact your Programme Officer in the event of any queries or difficulties during your award. Your Programme Officer will arrange for your initial allowances to be paid and can answer queries about the financial aspects of your award, travel arrangements, and welfare issues. Your Programme Officer may change from time to time during your award.

Please contact the Senior Welfare and Immigration Officer if you have any visa queries or have an urgent welfare query.

CSC Secretariat Contacts

Programme Officers

Nighat Anwar | +44 (0)20 3751 7875 | nighat.anwar@cscuk.org.uk
Irene Costello | +44 (0)20 7380 6774 | irene.costello@cscuk.org.uk
James Goldsmith | +44 (0)20 7380 6751 | james.goldsmith@cscuk.org.uk
Nadim Khan | +44 (0)20 7380 6753 | nadim.khan@cscuk.org.uk
Saima Lone | +44 (0)20 7380 6728 | saima.lone@cscuk.org.uk
Jasmin Osman | +44 (0)20 3751 7873 | jasmin.osman@cscuk.org.uk

Senior Programme Officers

Naivasha Mwanji | +44 (0)20 7380 6716 | naivasha.mwanji@cscuk.org.uk
Juliette Hargreave | +44 (0)20 7049 2179 | juliette.hargreave@cscuk.org.uk

Senior Welfare and Immigration Officer

Ratha Senthinathan | +44 (0)20 7380 6783 | ratha.senthinathan@cscuk.org.uk

Programme Assitant

Alex Beattie | +44 (0)20 3903 2344 | alex.beattie@cscuk.org.uk

General Queries

Welfare and Immigration

+44 (0)20 7380 6783 | welfare@cscuk.org.uk

Finance

+44 (0)20 3409 2173 | finance@cscuk.org.uk

Other Queries

Student Engagement

engage@cscuk.org.uk

Alumni

alumni@cscuk.org.uk

Evaluation and Monitoring

evaluation@cscuk.org.uk

Complaints

complaints@cscuk.org.uk

Fraud, Bribery and Corruption

fraud@cscuk.org.uk

Safeguarding

csc.safeguarding@cscuk.org.uk

Before your award

The British Council has produced several brochures to help you make sure your time in the UK is safe and enjoyable. The brochures, along with general information about studying in the UK, are available on the British Council Study UK page.

Visas

Most Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows will need to obtain a visa to enter the UK. For information on current visa regulations and guidance on applying for a visa, visit the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website.

UK immigration rules change frequently. For up-to-date news and information on changes relating to international students, you should consult the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your permission to enter or remain in the UK and that of any accompanying dependants is valid throughout your time in the UK.

Family members (Dependants)

You must ensure that you and any accompanying family members (dependants) meet all the UK immigration requirements. You should check the requirements and procedures for obtaining visas for family members carefully on the UKCISA Dependants page. You are liable for any costs incurred in obtaining visas for your family members and are responsible for supporting your family members while they are in the UK.
Due to the short and intensive nature of fellowship programmes, the CSC recommends that you do not bring family members with you to the UK. The CSC cannot provide support for the family members of Fellows.

Visa application fees

If a tuberculosis test is required for your visa application, you will be charged a fee and on production of your TB certificate you will be reimbursed for a pre-determined amount on arrival in the UK.

If you are applying for a visa from outside the UK, in most cases you will be applying for a Student visa and your application fee will be waived. If you are charged for your visa application, you should query this with the visa application centre immediately and inform the CSC. You should not make any payment as this will not be reimbursed.

If you are planning to apply for a Student visa from inside the UK, you must seek guidance from your Programme Officer in advance of your visa application. You will be charged an application fee. If a fee reimbursement has been pre-approved, you should submit the receipt with a claim form for reimbursement to your Programme Officer within 3 months of your award start date.

If you are applying for another type of visa, as instructed by your university, you must seek guidance from your Programme Officer in advance of your visa application.

You will be charged an application fee when you apply for your visa. This fee, plus any pre-approved immigration health surcharge (IHS) costs (if applicable) and an arrival allowance (if applicable), will be automatically reimbursed once you have arrived in the UK.

English Language and ATAS requirements

You must check in good time what is required from your university (including any English Language and ATAS requirements) and follow any university instructions.

Travel for visa appointments

If you are required to travel to another country to attend your visa application appointment, the CSC can arrange your flight booking if pre-approved by your Programme Officer. Contact your Programme Officer at least one week before you intend to travel, and they will provide you with instructions on how to book your travel using the CSC-approved travel provider. You will not be reimbursed for any airfare that is not booked via the CSC’s travel provider. The CSC will not cover any accommodation costs nor the cost of any domestic travel.

Financial preparations

Cash card

You will be sent a pre-paid bank card – known as a ‘cash card’ – and instructions on how to activate the card with your Confirmation of Award. When you arrive in the UK, the CSC will credit your warm clothing allowance (if applicable) and your first quarter’s stipend (calculated from the first day of your award, as stated on your Notification of Award, or the day that you arrive in the UK, whichever is later) to the cash card. You can use the cash card at cash points (ATMs) across the UK.

You must have booked your flight with the CSC Secretariat, received your e-ticket and have confirmed with the CSC that you have activated your cash card before any money will be loaded on to it. The cash card has no monetary value until it has been activated.

As with any other card of this nature, you are responsible for its security from the moment you receive the cash card. If you lose the cash card, you should immediately report the loss to the card issuer. Contact details for the card issuer are included on the back of the cash card and in the guide provided to you by your Programme Officer.

The cash card will only be active for a short period, you should ensure that all funds are transferred to your bank account within six months.

Research Support Grant

Your supervisor may request a Research Support Grant (often known as ‘bench fees’) during the negotiations for your placement at a university to cover costs incurred by the University for the research to be under taken i.e. equipment and consumables. If you think you will need a Research Support Grant, it is very important that you contact your supervisor before your Notification of Award is issued, so that they can submit a request to the CSC. The CSC will not consider any requests made after your Notification of Award is issued.

Accommodation

Arranging Accommodation

Before you arrive in the UK, you must contact the accommodation office at your university/host organisation as early as possible. The CSC does not have a supply of accommodation anywhere in the UK.

Your stipend will be paid from the first day of your award, as stated on your Notification of Award, or the day that you arrive in the UK, whichever is later. You must arrange your travel and accommodation accordingly and ensure that you do not pay for accommodation before you arrive in the UK.

For general advice on the types of accommodation available in the UK, application procedures, and useful links to short-term accommodation, visit the UKCISA page on Planning your housing.

If you accept university residential accommodation, you will usually have to stay there for one academic year if you are a Scholar, or for the duration of your award if you are a Fellow. Since this type of accommodation is in high demand, you may have to live in private rented accommodation instead. If your university is unable to offer you accommodation, or if you want to live in private rented accommodation, the accommodation office at your university should be able to provide a list of private landlords or agencies.

You are strongly advised not to sign any contract for private accommodation without first viewing the accommodation to assess its suitability. Any signed contract is legally binding, so you should always check the terms and conditions carefully before signing. You should also check that you are able to afford the accommodation, based on your monthly stipend, before signing any contract.

If you decide to leave your accommodation before the end of your contract, you will be personally liable for any fees and outstanding costs.

Accommodation that is suitable for families is scarce and in high demand in most university towns. You may have to spend some time in temporary accommodation before securing suitable long-term family accommodation. You are strongly advised not to bring your family to join you in the UK until you have arranged suitable long-term accommodation.

Many universities or host institutions can provide or advise you about accommodation suitable for disabled students, or they may adapt accommodation to meet your individual needs. If you require accessible or adapted accommodation, we recommend that you contact your university or host institution to discuss your requirements as soon as possible.

You must consult your academic supervisor/host and notify your Programme Officer before renting accommodation so far from your place of study that it may be considered unreasonable (for example, in London, over 15 miles), as this may have an impact upon your attendance or stipend rate.

You must inform your Programme Officer immediately of any change of address, whether temporary or permanent, during your award.

Accommodation Deposits

The CSC is unable to reserve or pay a deposit for any accommodation on your behalf before you arrive in the UK. Your Programme Officer is also unable to act as a referee or guarantor for you in any application for accommodation. If you have been offered university accommodation that requires a deposit to secure the accommodation before arrival, your Programme Officer may be able to provide a deposit deferral letter once your award has been confirmed, provided your university will accept this. If this is the case, you will still need to pay the deposit upon, or shortly after, taking up your accommodation. It is very unusual for private landlords to accept this type of letter.

If, after you arrive in the UK, you need to make a substantial rental payment (e.g. six months), the CSC may be able to arrange an advance of your stipend. If you want to apply for such an advance, you must forward your rental agreement for the full academic year, which must clearly state the period for which the agreement applies and the schedule of all rental payments you will need to make during that year, to your Programme Officer. If agreed, your Programme Officer will send you a repayment plan, which you must sign before the advance is released.

If you have any queries regarding the impact of Coronavirus on accommodation please read: Coronavirus FAQs – What should I do if I am having problems with my accommodation?

Travel to the UK

Coronavirus

The rules around international travel are subject to Coronavirus restrictions. Please read the following sections of our Coronavirus FAQs for more information.

  • What is the situation for people living in the UK? What is the government advice on Coronavirus?
  • What is current advice on travel to and from the UK regarding Coronavirus?
  • Will I need to self-isolate when I enter the UK and will I need a certificate to confirm that I do not have Covid-19?
  • What if I am from a ‘red list’ country?

Travel arrangements

Your award covers the cost of travel at the start of your award, the CSC will book a single economy flight from the nearest major airport to your home town in your home country to the nearest major airport to your university/host organisation in the UK (as determined by the CSC) and one standard class train or coach fare in the UK, if appropriate. Your travel can only be booked once you have received your visa to enter the UK.

Your Programme Officer will provide you with detailed instructions on how to book your travel using the CSC-approved travel provider. All travel to the UK must be booked through the CSC- approved travel provider’s online booking form. The travel provider will book your travel in line with the CSC Travel Policy. When completing the booking form, you should ensure your final destination is your UK university to ensure that a coach/rail ticket (if appropriate) can be booked to your final destination. You will not be reimbursed for any airfare, train or coach fares that are not booked via the CSC’s travel provider.

If you require any health or disability related assistance, please let us know in advance of making your booking so that we can arrange this with the CSC travel provider.

If you are already in the UK when your award is confirmed and you do not return home before your award commences, you will not be eligible for an airfare or a warm clothing allowance.

All award-holders are expected to be in the UK for their award start date, as stated in the Notification of Award. If you need to travel after the official start date of your award, you must ask for approval from your university and your Programme Officer in advance, giving the reasons for the delay. You should not assume that approval will be given. Scholarships are offered for the start of the academic year; the start date of Fellowships may vary.

The CSC cannot accept responsibility for accidents during your journey or for the loss of luggage, wherever or however these may occur. You should arrange appropriate insurance to cover your travel to the UK for the duration of your award.

Split-Site scholars on two periods of 6 months or for less than a year will be required to book a return ticket.

You must contact your university to arrange your travel.
You must arrive in the UK at least one day prior to the scheduled start date of the programme. You may arrive up to five days before the start of your programme.

Travel expenses

Your award will usually cover the following incoming travel expenses:

  • Fares: One approved airfare from the nearest major airport to your home town in your home country to the nearest major airport to your university/host organisation in the UK (as determined by the CSC); one standard class train or coach fare to your final destination, if the arrival airport is not located in the same city as your university/host organisation.
  • Incidental expenses: One night’s hotel accommodation, only if your journey involves a necessary overnight stop en route to the UK as determined by the CSC travel provider and confirmed in advance by your Programme Officer.
  • Excess baggage: Only if the standard baggage allowance for your flight is less than 30kg, the cost of bringing an additional 10kg of luggage from your home country to the UK. You must submit receipts clearly showing the weight and cost incurred with a claim form for reimbursement to your Programme Officer after you have arrived in the UK.Please refer to the full CSC Travel Policy available here.

You must submit any claims for reimbursement within three months of your arrival in the UK. To download the claim form for reimbursement and to see the full CSC Travel Policy, visit the Polices and Forms page.

Family members’ fares

You are personally responsible for the fares and luggage expenses of your family members. These can be arranged by the CSC travel provider and billed to you separately.

Currency

You should carry with you sufficient UK currency (pounds sterling) to meet any expenses that you may incur immediately when you arrive, in case there is a problem with accessing the funds on your cash card. A sum of £200 should be sufficient. If you are accompanied by dependants, you will need a correspondingly larger sum.

Disability Support

When you are provisionally selected for a Scholarship, you will be required to submit a form, which asks if you have a disability and if you are likely to need any special provision or treatment during your award. We strongly encourage you to disclose any disabilities at this early stage. This will provide the CSC with a clear picture of your needs, so that arrangements can be made for your welfare in the UK, should you be successful in gaining a Scholarship. Any sensitive personal data that you provide will be handled with maximum discretion.

We will use the information provided to determine what (if any) additional support you may need to excel in your studies, during your academic and daily life, and/or at CSC events. Examples of actions will depend on your needs but may include: liaising with your university/host organisation (with your permission) to ensure you are supported; advising you about any preparations you need to make before you arrive in the UK or anything you may need to bring; advising the CSC’s travel provider of any considerations that need to be made for your travel to the UK. We are committed to ensuring you are well-supported during your studies and will work with you to understand your needs.

The disability-related support the CSC provides for Scholars is agreed and determined according to Scholars’ individual needs. We will liaise with you to determine what support we can offer, and will take this into account in conjunction with the information that you have provided, additional details provided by your university/host organisation (if they have conducted a needs assessment), and any other information about additional support that your university/host organisation is able to provide. Additional support provided by the CSC is intended to complement the support already provided by your
university/host organisation, ensuring your needs are met throughout your award.

If your Scholarship is tenable in the UK, the CSC will provide support for you in your personal life if your disability-related needs result in the costs of everyday activities being higher than they would be otherwise. If you have indicated that you are likely to have additional financial needs and have declared a disability on the form, a full assessment of your needs and eligibility for additional financial support will be offered once you arrive in the UK.

The CSC organises events for Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows, and coordinates attendance at events hosted by other organisations. If you apply to attend one of these events, you will be asked on the application form if you have a disability that requires any additional assistance. We will make every effort to put adjustments in place to enable you to attend and gain maximum benefit from the event.

On award

 

Code of conduct

As a Commonwealth Scholar or Fellow, you are an ambassador for both the CSC and your home country, and as such your actions and communication will have an impact on the reputation of both. You are therefore expected to adhere to high standards of conduct and behaviour and to show respect to others and your surroundings at all times. All Scholars and Fellows must familiarise themselves with the CSC Disciplinary Policy which applies once a Scholar or Fellow has accepted their CSC award. The CSC aims to enable a free exchange of ideas during all its activities in order to achieve the maximum potential impact for all participants. Recognising the diversity of backgrounds among our award holders – including in terms of race, religion, gender, sexuality, cultural values and disability status – you are reminded to always be respectful to others and to behave professionally. All communication should be appropriate for an audience including people of many different backgrounds; harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary comments or jokes are not appropriate nor is discrimination either direct or indirect.

The same considerations apply to social media, electronic communications, and virtual events, and the provisions of this Code and the CSC Disciplinary Policy apply as they would to speaking in public or writing something for publication, either officially or in a personal capacity. When engaging with social media you should at all times respect confidentiality, financial, legal and personal information. Social media and electronic communications, whether public or private, addressed to a group or an individual, should never be used for harassment, bullying, defamation, or any behaviour that makes another individual feel threatened or uncomfortable.

The CSC is committed to proactively safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows and to protecting all those with whom award-holders come into contact. This includes contact unrelated to the CSC and applies to electronic contact as well as all activities conducted overseas, including fieldwork. The CSC requires Commissioners, Secretariat staff, and Scholars and Fellows to fulfil their role and responsibilities and conduct themselves in a manner consistent with requirements for safeguarding. Award-holders should make sure that they are familiar with their UK host institution’s own safeguarding policy and procedures including reporting mechanisms in case they should need to use it. Please refer to the CSC Safeguarding Policy. Any safeguarding concerns should be reported to the Commission at csc.safeguarding@cscuk.org.uk

Any complaints received or issues related to the behaviour of award-holders brought to the Commission’s attention will be taken very seriously and any behaviour that does not adhere to the above values and expectations will be addressed by the CSC. Your award may be terminated at any time for reasons of unsatisfactory conduct, progress, or attendance, or if your registration is suspended or terminated by your university for any reason.

The CSC operates a zero-tolerance attitude to fraud and will investigate all instances of actual, attempted and suspected fraud, bribery or corruption committed by Scholars and Fellows related to their award. Any such instances will be considered under the CSC Anti- fraud, Bribery and Corruption Policy.

Scholars and Fellows are expected to fulfil all requirements put on them as award-holders and return all documentation in a timely and complete manner. Scholars and Fellows are expected to treat any staff engaged within the CSC Secretariat, or within any other organisation contracted to provide services to the Commission, with courtesy and respect. It is expected that such staff will show you the same consideration in return.

Arrival

Reception on arrival

The CSC does not offer a reception on arrival service in the UK. Your university’s international office may be able to provide a ‘meet and greet’ service. You may have been given information about this with your university offer letter. Alternatively, you can contact your university’s international office for instructions on how to travel to your final destination; contact details are available on the university’s website. If you are using a university service and have any disability-related needs that require additional assistance, please ensure that your university are aware, so they can provide additional support.

You should make suitable arrangements with your host organisation.

Registration form

You are required to complete the registration form provided by the CSC and submit it with a copy of your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) or visa if your award is six months or less, and passport photo page to your Programme Officer. To download the registration form, visit the Policies and Forms page.

If you do not submit your registration form, BRP and passport photo page within the first three months of arriving in the UK, you may risk having your stipend suspended.

Award allowances

Concurrent awards

A Commonwealth Scholarship covers fares, fees, and a living allowance. PhD awards also cover approved research and fieldwork costs. Split-site awards also cover approved research costs. Other scholarships, awards, or bursaries that cover the same costs as those provided by the CSC may not be held concurrently. If you are offered a concurrent award you should seek advice from your Programme Officer. If you accept another award without declaring it to the CSC, the CSC reserves the right to withdraw your Commonwealth Scholarship.

Bank accounts

If your full award tenure is more than six months long, you must open a UK bank account (this includes online UK bank accounts) , in order to receive your allowances and to minimise bank charges. The information and documentation you need to open a bank account may vary between different banks, as well as the time it takes. Opening a bank account with an approved ‘high street’ bank or an approved online/mobile bank are acceptable for CSC purposes. For further information, visit the UKCISA page on Opening a bank account. You must submit your bank details to the CSC using the bank account form available on the Policies and Forms page. You must follow the instructions on this form carefully. The CSC cannot accept bank account details provided in a name other than your own. If you do not provide the CSC with your UK bank account details within the first three months of arriving in the UK, you may risk having your stipend suspended.

The CSC will not transfer remaining allowances on a cash card to your UK bank account – you are responsible for doing this yourself. We recommend that you remove all funds from your cash card within 12 months.

It is very important that you inform your Programme Officer about any changes to your bank account details. If you decide to change your bank account, you must provide the new details to your Programme Officer as soon as possible, using the form on the CSC website and following the instructions carefully. You must keep your old account open until your stipend is credited to your new account. If you do not keep your old account open, there may be a delay in receiving any allowances paid during this period.

You are advised to open a UK bank account as soon as possible when you arrive in the UK. The information and documentation you need to open a bank account may vary between different banks, as well as the time it takes. For further information, visit the UKCISA page on Opening a bank account.

Warm clothing allowance

Where applicable, you will receive a warm clothing allowance when you first arrive in the UK. This payment will be transferred automatically onto your cash card upon arrival.
Where applicable, you will receive a warm clothing allowance when you arrive in the UK.

Stipend (living allowance)

You will receive a stipend (living allowance) which is calculated to cover your basic living expenses, such as accommodation, meals, personal expenses, daily travel, and an element for books and other sundry items whilst you are on award in the UK. Your stipend will include a London living weighting if you are studying at a university/hosted by an organisation in London and are residing in London. Your Programme Officer will inform you of any changes to your stipend rate as and when they occur. If you should be required to study outside the UK, stipend will be paid at your home country’s ‘local’ rate.

If you have declared a disability, the CSC will undertake an assessment of your needs and eligibility for any additional financial support you may be eligible for whilst you are on award in the UK.

Your stipend will be paid from the first day of your award, as stated on your Notification of Award, or the day that you arrive in the UK, whichever is later. Your stipend will stop on the last day of your award, as stated on your Notification of Award, or the day that you leave the UK, whichever is earlier. You should arrange your accommodation accordingly.

Payment dates

All regular allowances will usually be paid into your bank account in advance, by the first day of each quarter. Although the money will often reach your account a few days earlier, you should arrange for any direct debits to be paid after the first day of the quarter. Allowances cannot be paid before the due date. Payment of your allowance is initiated fourteen working days before your bank account is credited. If you change your bank account, you must inform your Programme Officer well in advance of when payments are due.

Your final quarter’s stipend will be suspended and will not be released until you make contact with your Programme Officer to confirm your departure arrangements. Your stipend and allowances will be released only after you confirm your homeward flight booking, or (for PhD Scholars) your request to defer your homeward airfare is approved.

All regular allowances will usually be paid onto your cash card in advance, by the first day of each quarter. Although the money will often reach your account a few days earlier, you should arrange for any payments to be paid after the first day of the quarter. Allowances cannot be paid before the due date.

Payment of your allowance is initiated fourteen working days before your cash card is credited.

Your final quarter’s stipend will be suspended and will not be released until you make contact with your Programme Officer to confirm your departure arrangements. Your stipend and allowances will be released only after you confirm your homeward flight booking.

Tuition fees

Your university will send invoices for approved fees to the CSC. If you receive an invoice for these fees, you should inform your university that you are a Commonwealth Scholar/Fellow and provide a copy of your Notification of Award as evidence of your sponsorship, so that your university can invoice the CSC.

Approved fees usually include fees for tuition, and a Research Support Grant if applicable. You must pay subscriptions to any university or college clubs or societies that you join yourself.

Coronavirus FAQs – What should I do if I am experiencing financial hardship?

Support grant

The CSC pays a fixed support grant to your host institution as part of your fellowship. This grant is non-negotiable. Your host institution must invoice the CSC for this.
Your host organisation is granted a flat fee as part of your fellowship. It may also negotiate additional fees (for example, for short courses) with the CSC, before your fellowship is confirmed.

Study travel grant

The amount of study travel grant available to you is stated on your Notification of Award. You should apply for a study travel grant in advance of travel or within three weeks of the travel. The sum you apply for may cover travel, conference fees, and accommodation related to your studies. Your application may not be approved if the CSC deems your request to not be related to your studies. You cannot use your study travel grant to attend an event held after the end of your award tenure. Your study travel grant application will not be approved if it does not meet the above criteria. To download a study travel grant application form, visit the Policies and Forms page. The CSC aims to process your study travel grant within 10 working days of submission.
The amount of study travel grant available to you is stated on your Notification of Award. You should contact the scholarship contact at your university to request payment of this grant.
You are not eligible for study travel grants, as these expenses should be included in your host organisation’s grant.

Reimbursements

You can claim reimbursement for certain costs incurred either before the start of your award, or during your award. Before incurring any such costs, you should confirm with your Programme Officer that they will be reimbursed.

For costs incurred before your award, you must submit all claims for reimbursement within three months of your arrival in the UK. For costs incurred during your award, you must submit all claims for reimbursement within three months of incurring the cost. Costs for reimbursements must be of benefit to your award, therefore if your cost is submitted towards the end of your award and the CSC deems the reimbursement claim to not be of benefit to your award, the CSC may not approve your reimbursement.

To download the claim form for reimbursement, visit the Policies and Forms page. You should submit this form with original receipts to your Programme Officer. The CSC aims to process all claims within 10 working days of submission.

Overpayments

Any cases where an award holder is found to have falsely claimed expenses, not declared their absence from the UK, or failed to repay a stipend advance or an overpayment of stipend or allowances to which they were not otherwise entitled will be considered under the CSC Anti-Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Policy. If you believe that you have been overpaid any amount of money, you must contact your Programme Officer immediately. Your Programme Officer will advise on how to repay any overpayment made to you.

Family allowances

If you are a single parent (i.e. you do not have a second parent supporting your child/children in your home country), you are eligible to claim child allowance for up to three of your accompanying children, provided that they are living with you in the UK for a continuous period of at least three months. You can also claim child allowance for children between the ages of 16 and 18 who remain in full-time education in the UK during your award.

These allowances are intended to be only a contribution towards the cost of maintaining your family in the UK. The true costs are likely to be considerably higher, and you should bear this in mind when you are deciding whether to bring your family to the UK.

Child allowances are paid only from the date your child/children arrive in the UK. If you are receiving a grant or allowances to support your family from another source, you are not eligible to claim child allowances from the CSC and you must notify your Programme Officer.

You may be required at any time during your award to provide proof that your child/children are still in the UK.
Eligibility for child allowance does not guarantee that your child/children will be eligible for a UK visa. Visa and Immigration Health Surcharge fees are very high for dependants and are not reimbursed by the CSC. You should read the current immigration requirements carefully before deciding to apply for a visa for your child/children. For guidance, visit the UKCISA page on Dependants.

If your spouse and/or child/children travel with you to the UK, you may be eligible to claim family allowances. These allowances are intended to be only a contribution towards the cost of maintaining your family in the UK. The true costs are likely to be considerably higher, and you should bear this in mind when you are deciding whether to bring your family to the UK. The CSC assumes that, if you are accompanied by your spouse and children, your spouse will be primarily responsible for childcare. If this is not the case, you should contact your university as soon as possible to determine what childcare facilities may be available.

Spouse and child allowances are paid only from the date your spouse and/or children arrive in the UK. If you are receiving a grant or allowances to support your family from another source, you are not eligible to claim spouse or child allowances from the CSC and you must notify your Programme Officer.

If you receive spouse or child allowances, you will not be eligible for a mid- term visit to your home country.

You may be required at any time during your award to provide proof that your spouse and/or children are still in the UK.

Eligibility for spouse and/or child allowance does not guarantee that your spouse and/or child/children will be eligible for a UK visa. Visa and Immigration Health Surcharge fees are very high for dependants and are not reimbursed by the CSC. You should read the current immigration requirements carefully before deciding to apply for a visa for your spouse and/ or child/children. For guidance, visit the UKCISA page on Dependants.

Scholars accompanied by spouse only

Spouse allowance is payable only in respect of a legally recognised marriage or civil partnership. If you are accompanied by your spouse, you are eligible to claim spouse allowance for the first nine months of their stay only, provided that they are living with you in the UK for a continuous period of at least three months. You are not eligible to claim spouse allowance if your spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship, a citizen or permanent resident of an EU country (including the UK), or residing in the UK on a working visa.

Scholars accompanied by children and spouse

If you are accompanied by your spouse and children, you are eligible to claim spouse allowance and child allowance for the first, second, and third child under the age of 16, provided that they are living with you in the UK for a continuous period of at least three months. You can also claim child allowance for children between the ages of 16 and 18 who remain in full-time education in the UK during your award. You are not eligible to claim spouse allowance if your spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship, a citizen or permanent resident of an EU country (including the UK), or residing in the UK on a working visa.

Scholars accompanied by children only

You are eligible to claim child allowance for up to three of your accompanying children, provided that they are living with you in the UK for a continuous period of at least three months. You can also claim child allowance for children between the ages of 16 and 18 who remain in full-time education in the UK during your award.

Claiming family allowances

If you are eligible for spouse allowance you should send a completed family record form to your Programme Officer with a copy of your valid marriage/civil partnership certificate or proof of legal status of relationship (with certified English translation, where necessary) and copies of your spouse’s passport pages showing their photograph, entry stamp, and leave to remain stamp.

If you are eligible for child allowance, you must provide copies of each child’s birth certificate, passport and visa with a copy of the entry date stamp (with certified translations, where necessary). If any children join you at a later date or are born in the UK, proof of their arrival/ birth will be required before child allowances can be paid. To claim child allowance for children between the ages of 16 and 18, you must provide documentary evidence that they are still in full-time education.

You must inform your Programme Officer in advance of any expected change in your family circumstances (for example, arrival or departure of your family in the UK, any change in the number of children who qualify for child allowance), as this will affect your entitlement.

Claiming child allowances

If you are eligible for child allowance, you should send a completed family record form to your Programme Officer with copies of each child’s birth certificate, passport and visa with a copy of the entry date stamp (with certified translations, where necessary) and evidence of your single parent status. To claim child allowance for children between the ages of 16 and 18, you must provide documentary evidence that they are still in full-time education. If any children join you at a later date or are born in the UK, proof of their arrival/birth will be required before child allowances can be paid. You must inform your Programme Officer in advance of any expected change in your family circumstances (for example, arrival or departure of your family in the UK, any change in the number of children who qualify for child allowance), as this will affect your entitlement.

Council Tax

Council Tax is a charge for the services provided by local councils.

You must never ignore any bills you receive for Council Tax, even if you believe that the amount is incorrect or that you should not be paying the charge. If you are in any doubt, you should contact your local council immediately.

If you are living in university halls of residence, a hostel owned by a charity, or a home shared with other full-time students or with their family, then you should not have to pay Council Tax. If you receive a demand for Council Tax and you are not living in student accommodation, you may be able to obtain a Certificate of Student Status from your university, which may entitle you to exemption or a reduction.
If you are a Split-site scholar in the UK for a period of six months or less and you are not eligible for an exemption, you may be eligible to claim reimbursement of Council Tax charges from the CSC for the period of your award only. You should send a claim form with a copy of the bill and original receipts to your Programme Officer. You must make your claim within 3 months of paying for your Council tax. To download the claim form for reimbursement, visit the Policies and Forms page.
If you are not eligible for a council tax exemption, you will be eligible to claim reimbursement of Council Tax charges for the period of your award only. You should send a claim form with a copy of the bill and original receipts to your Programme Officer. You must make your claim within 3 months of paying for your Council tax. To download the claim form for reimbursement, visit the Policies and Forms page.

For further information, visit the UKCISA page on Council Tax.

Award regulations

You must observe the regulations of your university/host organisation.

The CSC supports full-time study only.

Coronavirus

For information relating to the delivery of your course in the current academic year, please refer to the following sections of the Coronavirus FAQs:

    • What can I expect from the way my course is delivered once I arrive to the UK?
    • I am unable to work due to university/lab closures – what should I do?
  • What should I do if I’m a research student (PhD or Split-Site)?

Residence

You are expected to reside in the UK for your entire award tenure.

The only exceptions to this rule are if:

  • You in the UK for one period of 12 months.
  • You are undertaking approved travel overseas.
  • You are undertaking approved fieldwork.

To find out more, refer to ‘Overseas travel’ and ‘Fieldwork’.

Employment

You cannot serve on the staff of the official representative of your country in the UK.

You are expected to study full time for your entire award tenure and not to undertake paid employment. The only exception to this rule is if you are employed in a role relevant to your studies for not more than six hours per week. If you want to take up such employment, you must inform your Programme Officer in advance.

If a paid internship is a compulsory part of your course, then your stipend will be suspended for the duration of the internship.

If you think that there are exceptional academic circumstances in your case, you should ask your Programme Officer in advance for approval.

You must not take up any employment that is not permitted by your visa.

You cannot normally undertake any paid employment within your university/host organisation or elsewhere in the UK during your fellowship.
You may undertake ad hoc work under certain conditions. You should speak to your Programme Officer in advance for advice on working during your fellowship.

Progress reports

You must submit a report on your work to the CSC at the end of your first term, at the end of each academic year, and at the end of your scholarship. You will be instructed when to submit the report. To download the report form,visit the Policies and Forms page. Your supervisor must also report on your progress at the end of your first term, at the end of each academic year, and at the end of your scholarship. They will be sent a CSC report form for this purpose.

If you do not submit your progress reports within one month of the deadline, you may risk having your stipend suspended. You will not meet all terms of your scholarship nor receive a certificate until all reports are submitted.

You must submit a report on your work to the CSC at the end of your first term, and at the end of your scholarship. You will be instructed when to submit the report. To download the report form, visit the Policies and Forms page. Your supervisor must also report on your progress at the end of your scholarship.

If you do not submit your first term report within one month of the deadline, you may risk having your stipend suspended. You will not meet all terms of your scholarship nor receive a certificate until all reports are submitted.

You must submit a report on your fellowship to the CSC at the end of your award. You will not meet all terms of your fellowship nor receive a certificate until the report is submitted.

Duration and termination of award

Your award will start on the date stated on your Notification of Award or on the date you arrive in the UK, whichever is later.

Your award may be terminated at any time for reasons of unsatisfactory conduct, progress, or attendance, or if your registration is suspended or terminated by your university/host organisation for any reason. If you have any concerns about your studies/programme or delays to your studies/ programme for any reason, or if you fail any component of your course, you must report this to your Programme Officer immediately. This will help your Programme Officer to support you appropriately.

You must inform your Programme Officer immediately if your university registration is terminated or suspended for any period. You must also inform your Programme Officer immediately if you experience any problems with your visa or if you leave the UK unexpectedly.

Your scholarship will continue until the date stated on your Notification of Award, the date that you complete or discontinue your studies, or the date that you leave the UK, whichever is earlier.
If your scholarship is for more than one year, its continuation is conditional on positive recommendation from your supervisor each year and the submission of your progress reports.
Your fellowship will continue until the date stated on your Notification of Award or the date that you leave the UK, whichever is earlier, subject to your compliance with the terms of your fellowship. Fellowships cannot be extended under any circumstances.

Overseas travel

If you are planning to travel overseas during your award, you are responsible for arranging any visas that may be required. You are strongly advised to arrange adequate insurance to cover your possessions, accidents, and illness.
Your scholarship is for study in the UK and you are expected to spend the majority of your time on award in the UK.

If you want to travel overseas at your own expense, you can do so for a period not exceeding two weeks. Such travel should take place during the university vacation and must be at a time approved by your supervisor/course lead in the UK. You must ask your supervisor/course lead to approve any overseas travel during term time, however short the trip. You do not have to ask your Programme Officer to approve overseas travel for a period not exceeding two weeks, but you must notify your Programme Officer of each proposed trip in advance. You must also ensure that your passport and UK visa are valid for a reasonable period from your expected date of return, and that you have your Confirmation of Award with you when you re-enter the UK, in case you are asked to produce it.

If for any reason you want to travel overseas for longer than two weeks, you must ask your Programme Officer in advance for approval. Approval is not likely to be granted, with the exception of short absences made necessary by special circumstances. If you travel overseas for longer than two weeks, your scholarship and all associated payments (including tuition fees) will be suspended and any overpayments made will have to be returned to the CSC immediately.

If you want to travel overseas at your own expense, you can do so for a period not exceeding four weeks. Such travel should take place during the university vacation and must be at a time approved by your supervisor/course lead in the UK. You must ask your supervisor/course lead to approve any overseas travel during term time, however short the trip. You do not have to ask your Programme Officer to approve overseas travel for a period not exceeding four weeks, but you must notify your Programme Officer of each proposed trip in advance. You must also ensure that your passport and UK visa are valid for a reasonable period from your expected date of return, and that you have your Confirmation of Award with you when you re-enter the UK, in case you are asked to produce it.

If for any reason you want to travel overseas for longer than four weeks, you must ask your Programme Officer in advance for approval. Approval is not likely to be granted, with the exception of short absences made necessary by special circumstances. If you travel overseas for longer than four weeks, your scholarship and all associated payments (including tuition fees) will be suspended and any overpayments made will have to be returned to the CSC immediately.

You do not have to ask your Programme Officer to approve overseas travel within the limits outlined below, but you must notify your Programme Officer of each proposed trip in advance. You must also ensure that your passport and UK visa are valid for a reasonable period from your expected date of return, and that you have your Confirmation of Award with you when you re-enter the UK, in case you are asked to produce it.If for any reason you want to travel overseas for longer than the periods outlined below, you must ask your Programme Officer in advance for approval. Approval is not likely to be granted, with the exception of short absences made necessary by special circumstances. If you travel overseas for longer than the periods outlined below, your scholarship and all associated payments (including tuition fees) will be suspended and any overpayments made will have to be returned to the CSC immediately.

If your scholarship is for one period of 12 months and you want to travel overseas at your own expense, you can do so for a period not exceeding two weeks. If your scholarship is for 2 periods of 6 months you are expected to spend your full time in the UK. You should speak to your Programme Officer before making any plans.

Such travel should take place during the university vacation and must be at a time approved by your supervisor in the UK. If you are registered on a taught course, you must ask your supervisor to approve any overseas travel during term time, however short the trip.

If you are in receipt of family allowances and your family is planning to travel overseas for any period of time, you must inform your Programme Officer at least three months in advance, as spouse and/or child allowances will be suspended for the duration of their absence. If you are unable to inform your Programme Officer in advance, you must contact them as soon as reasonably possible and any family allowances paid for that period will need to be returned.
You have been awarded a fellowship in the UK and you are expected to remain in the UK for the duration of your fellowship.

Fieldwork

During the placement process, your supervisor must confirm that fieldwork is essential to your plan of study.
Your Programme Officer must approve the actual timing of your fieldwork, at least eight weeks in advance of travel before any arrangements or flights can be confirmed. Fieldwork flights must be booked through the CSC approved travel provider and with in the parameters of the CSC Travel Policy. Any flights booked without following these instructions will not be reimbursed. You should discuss any fieldwork requests not covered by the standard provision outlined below with your Programme Officer. Please refer to the CSC Travel Policy for more details.

Standard fieldwork provision covers the reasonable costs of one return flight and the maintenance of your stipend (at the non-London rate) for the full period of your fieldwork. Your university will book your flights.

You must inform both your Programme Officer and your university contact at least eight weeks in advance of your intended date of travel, to confirm your eligibility for Fieldwork and the arrangements for your travel. Your university will book your flights in line with CSC’s travel policy.

You must inform your Programme Officer of any changes to the timing of your fieldwork and confirm your return to the UK in writing. You may be liable for any costs if your fieldwork plans change.

If you have a disability or a condition that means you are likely to require adjustments during fieldwork, please let the CSC and your host institution know as soon as possible.

If you are eligible for a mid-term visit, this will be forfeited if you receive a return airfare to your home country for fieldwork. To find out more, please refer to the information under ‘Mid-term visits’.

Any period of fieldwork during which you are paid your stipend, or a reduced rate stipend, is considered part of your award tenure.

If your stipend is suspended during fieldwork and you wish to extend your award tenure by an equivalent period in order to complete your studies, you must ask your Programme Officer for formal approval.

Spouse and child allowances cannot be paid for any period of time when your family is not in the UK. If your family stays in the UK while you are away on fieldwork, spouse and/or child allowances will be maintained, in addition to your stipend, if applicable. If your stipend is suspended during fieldwork, spouse and/or child allowances will also be suspended, even if your family is still in the UK.

Coronavirus FAQs

  • What if I want to take a flight to go on fieldwork?
  • What if I am at home or on fieldwork and want to return to the UK?

Standard fieldwork provision covers the reasonable costs of one economy return flight to one fieldwork location and the maintenance of your stipend (at the non-London rate) for a period of up to six months. Any internal travel to other locations whilst on your fieldwork will not be covered by the CSC. You cannot book open-dated return flights or arrange stopovers. You are expected to have planned and confirmed your fieldwork dates with your UK supervisor in advance of booking your flights. Your stipend will continue to be paid into your UK bank account. Please refer to the CSC Travel Policy.

Exceptional fieldwork provision covers the maintenance of your stipend at a reduced fieldwork rate beyond the six-month period. This fieldwork rate is one third of the non-London stipend, payable for a specified period approved in advance by your Programme Officer.

You can ask for your stipend to be suspended for the full period of your fieldwork. Your stipend will automatically be suspended should your period of fieldwork go beyond six months of your agreed fieldwork period unless exceptional fieldwork provision is approved. If a suspension is approved, the duration of your suspension will be added to the end of your award.

During the placement process, your university must inform the CSC of any fieldwork that is essential to your plan of study. The CSC may refuse a fieldwork request if its value to the plan of study has not been sufficiently demonstrated.

If your fieldwork request is approved, provision will cover the maintenance of your stipend (at the non-London rate) for a period of up to two months. It will not cover the costs of a return flight nor any further costs.

If your fieldwork is in your home country and your university has given you permission to submit your dissertation remotely, you can use your homeward airfare for your travel. In this case, your stipend will not be paid for the final month of your scholarship, which it is assumed will be used for writing up your dissertation. To find out more, refer to the information under ‘Travel arrangements’.

Mid-term visits

You are eligible for a paid mid-term visit to your home country if:

  • You have received written confirmation from the CSC that your scholarship has been
    extended to its maximum tenure.
  • You have not claimed (and do not intend to claim) spouse and/or child allowances during your scholarship.
  • You have not received (or will not be receiving) a return airfare to your home country for fieldwork.The mid-term visit is for a period not exceeding 28 days, usually between the 15th and 28th month of your scholarship. Requests for visits towards the end of your scholarship may be refused.

You must submit your request to your Programme Officer at least eight weeks in advance of your intended date of travel using the mid-term visit form; the form is available on the Policies and Forms page. You must state your preferred outward and return journey dates on the form, which must be countersigned by your supervisor.

If your request for a mid-term visit is approved, the CSC approved travel provider will book you a return flight from the nearest major airport to your university in the UK (as determined by the CSC) to the nearest major airport to your home town in your home country on the most cost effective route available. You cannot book open-dated return flights, arrange stopovers, or take a mid-term visit to a country other than your home country. Any flights booked without following these instructions that fall outside of the CSC Travel Policy, will not be reimbursed. Please refer to the CSC Travel Policy for more details.

You must ensure that your passport and UK visa are valid to re-enter the UK and continue your studies., You should also make sure that you have your Notification of Award with you when you re-enter the UK, in case you are asked to produce it.

Your stipend will be suspended from the day that you leave the UK until the day that you arrive back in the UK. A visits home allowance, payable for the purposes of retention of lodgings, can be paid for up to 28 days. This will be limited to the actual costs incurred, or a pre- determined daily rate (currently £13.80 per day), whichever is lower. You must submit your rental agreements to your Programme Officer when you submit your mid-term visit form. Your rental agreement must cover the period that you will be on mid-term visit for.

Your award tenure will be extended by the length of your mid-term visit – to a maximum of 28 days – once you return to the UK. Your stipend will be suspended for any time over 28 days, and this period of time will not be added to the end of your tenure.

You must inform both your Programme Officer and your university contact at least eight weeks in advance of your intended date of travel, to confirm your eligibility for a mid-term visit and the arrangements for your travel. Your university will book your flights in line with CSC’s travel policy. Your stipend will not be suspended during the mid-term visit and your award tenure cannot be extended.

Coronavirus FAQs – What if I want to take a flight to go on a mid-term visit?

Scholarship Extensions

Your scholarship will be awarded for 22 months in the first instance. Your Notification of Award will state:

  • The initial dates of your award tenure
  • Your eligibility to apply for an extension of tenure; and
  • The grounds on which you can do so.You must apply for an extension well in advance of the end of your initial award tenure, in order to ensure that there are no delays with the extension and continued stipend payments. If you anticipate any delay, you must inform your Programme Officer as early as possible.

To apply for your scholarship to be extended to its maximum tenure, you must send the following documents to your Programme Officer:

  • An email request from yourself.
  • A letter from your university confirming that you have upgraded from MPhil to PhD/DPhil status.
  • A letter of support for the extension from your supervisor.An interim extension of two months may be arranged in exceptional circumstances. You will not be granted an extension beyond 24 months until you are registered for a full PhD/DPhil.

Visa extensions

If you need to extend your visa before the end of your award, you must apply during the last three months of your current permission to stay. You should speak to your university’s International Office to arrange this. Your Programme Officer may be able to provide a letter to support your application to extend your visa to your current award or deferment end date.

It is your responsibility to apply for an extension and to do so in good time. Failure to do so may delay the extension of your award at the appropriate time and will result in the suspension of your stipend and other allowances.

You are eligible for reimbursement of the standard postal application fee (£475.00), the biometric information enrolment fee (£19.20), and immigration health surcharge (IHS) costs for yourself only to cover one agreed period of deferment. Application fees for dependants will not be reimbursed. Any subsequent application fees to cover any additional deferment periods will not be reimbursed.

You should submit the receipts with a claim form for reimbursement to your Programme Officer within 3 months of making your application. To download the claim formfor reimbursement, visit the Policies and Forms page.
You should submit the receipts with a claim form for reimbursement to your Programme Officer and university scholarship contact within 3 months of making your application. To download the claim formfor reimbursement, visit the Policies and Forms page.

Deferment of homeward airfare

You may request deferment of your return airfare if:

  • Your supervisor agrees and provides written support.
  • You are still working towards the degree for which your scholarship was originally awarded.Requests for deferments are not automatically approved, and are usually approved only for PhD Scholars who are registered at a UK university. Deferments for you to undertake further studies beyond the scope of your scholarship, or to stay in the UK to attend graduation ceremonies after the end of your award will not be approved. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a valid deferment in place If you do not have a valid deferment in place, you may forfeit your homeward airfare.

To apply for a deferment, you must write to your Programme Officer at least eight weeks before the end of your scholarship stating how long you need the deferment for and include the expected date of submission, viva date, and correction deadline. You must also explain whether it is necessary for you to remain in the UK for corrections. Failure to give sufficient notice will result in the suspension of your stipend.

The CSC does not support Scholars remaining in the UK under the Graduate Immigration Route.

If deferment of your homeward airfare has been approved, you are eligible for a half-rate stipend allowance (based on your current stipend rate at the time) for up to six months after the end of your scholarship.

If you are eligible for child allowance as an unaccompanied parent, you will continue to receive this allowance for the six-month period only. If you are not an unaccompanied parent, you will not continue to receive family allowances. The CSC will determine your final entitlement to any family allowances.

This additional stipend will be paid for up to six months, as long as you remain in the UK. You must notify your Programme Officer if you are likely to leave the UK before the approved end date of your deferment.

If deferment of your homeward airfare has been approved, you are eligible for a viva allowance (equivalent to one month’s stipend) once you have submitted your thesis. To claim the viva allowance, you should contact your university funding contact.

If you are eligible for child allowance as an unaccompanied parent, you will continue to receive this allowance for the six-month period only. If you are not an unaccompanied parent, you will not continue to receive family allowances.

Health and welfare

National Health Service (NHS)

There is a range of information and resources to help you prepare for living in the UK. Please visit our Student Wellbeing page for further information. NHS (National Health Service) is the UK’s state health service. NHS regulations are subject to change and vary slightly inScotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For information on how the UK healthcare system works, visit the UKCISA Health and Healthcare page. You should also check the NHS website for your location:

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

If you are applying for a Student visa from outside the UK, the IHS will be waived, but you will still need to complete the section of the form relating to the IHS and confirm that you have a ‘Chevening, Marshall or Commonwealth Scholarship’. If you are asked to pay the IHS, you should query this with the visa application centre immediately and inform your Programme Officer. You should not make any payment as this will not be reimbursed.

If you are accompanied by your spouse and/or children, they may need to pay the IHS in order to be eligible for the same medical treatment as you. To find out how much your dependants will need to pay, visit the UK government page on health care as part of your immigration application.

If you are a Commonwealth Split-site Scholar and your tenure is for six months or less, you will not be able to pay the IHS and you will be required to pay for any care you get on the NHS at the point at which you use it (with the exception of some services that are free), or you may need to seek private treatment, which is expensive in the UK. You must therefore ensure that you have private health insurance to cover your entire time in the UK and arrange this insurance before you arrive in the UK. The CSC cannot advise on insurance policies However, you should note that, if you are able to buy insurance from your home country, this is likely to be much less expensive than insurance purchased in the UK. If your award is more than six months long, you should check whether you are required to pay the IHS when you apply for your visa, as this will depend on the visa category you are applying under.

If you are applying to extend your visa from within the UK, you must pay the IHS before you can submit your visa application. You are eligible for reimbursement of the IHS for one approved visa extension application; you should submit the receipt with a claim form for reimbursement to your Programme Officer within 3 months of making your application. To download the claim form for reimbursement, visit the Policies and Forms page.

If your award is for six months or less, you will not be able to pay the IHS and you will be required to pay for any care you get on the NHS at the point at which you use it (with the exception of some services that are free), or you may need to seek private treatment, which is expensive in the UK. You must therefore ensure that you have private health insurance to cover your entire time in the UK and arrange this insurance before you arrive in the UK. The CSC cannot advise on insurance policies. However, you should note that, if you are able to buy insurance from your home country, this is likely to be much less expensive than insurance purchased in the UK.

Registering with a doctor (General Practitioner – GP)

When you arrive in the UK, you should register with a local doctor (known as a GP) as soon as possible. Many universities have their own health centres that you can use – you should check your university’s website for information about healthcare and access to local health services. For further information, visit the UKCISA page on Health and Healthcare. If you have a disability, mental health condition or health requirement, the GP will be able to advise you on treatment and support available in the local area.

Emergency dental and eye care

Not all dental practices accept NHS patients, and you may find that registering with an NHS dentist is difficult. If this is the case, you should ask your university/host organisation for advice, as they may be able to assist with finding an appropriate dental practice.

You may claim, on production of receipts, certain costs of emergency dental treatment, as well as opticians’ costs of eye tests and basic spectacles (if required) purchased at an opticians, up to a pre-determined maximum allowance of £85 per academic year. If claiming reimbursement for dental treatment, you must provide evidence of the emergency nature of the treatment. All requests for opticians’ costs or emergency dental treatment must be of benefit to your award. If your request is submitted towards the end of your award, the CSC may deem this to not be of benefit to your award and may not approve your reimbursement. All requests for reimbursements must be submitted to your Programme Officer within three months of incurring the cost. The assessment of individual claims is at the discretion of the CSC. You cannot claim reimbursement if your award has ended and you are on deferment. To download the claim form for reimbursement, visit the Policies and Forms page.

Notification of illness

If you fall ill, you must inform your university as soon as possible so you can get support in relation to completing your studies.

If you fall ill, you must inform your host organisation as soon as possible so you can get support in relation to completing your studies.

If you are unable to study because of an illness lasting more than four consecutive weeks, you may be eligible for an extension of your scholarship on grounds of ill health, for a maximum of 13 weeks. If this is the case, you must inform your Programme Officer of the date of onset of the illness immediately in writing.

Please refer to the CSC Ill Health Policy for more information.

Allowances while in hospital

If you are admitted to hospital, you are eligible to receive your stipend in full for the first 14 days. After this period, your stipend will be suspended and you will receive a daily allowance for incidental expenses, retention of lodgings allowance (if applicable), and spouse and/or child allowances (if applicable). If you need to stay in hospital for more than 28 days, your allowances will be reviewed.

Compassionate airfare

The CSC has a compassionate airfare policy for award-holders that are affected by the bereavement of a partner or first-degree relative. If this applies to you, please contact your Programme Officer. Urgent request over weekends should be made directly to Diversity Travel by calling 0161 300 8258.

Please refer to the CSC Compassionate Policy for more information. If you have suffered a bereavement you will also find information on organisations that can provide additional support on the Student Wellbeing Page.

For further information on travelling whilst international travel restrictions are in place, please see the Coronavirus FAQs:

  • What if I need to travel for compassionate reasons?
  • What is current advice on travel to and from the UK?

Coronavirus FAQs

For further information regarding health and welfare support whilst Coronavirus restrictions are in place, please refer to the following sections of the Coronavirus FAQs:

  • What should I do if I need further welfare support?
  • Where can I find advice on the symptoms of Coronavirus, and how to self-isolate?
  • What should I do if I need medical assistance related?
  • What if I am a disabled Scholar or have underlying health concerns?

Maternity leave

Any maternity leave must be approved by your university. If you remain in the UK to give birth, you are eligible for:

  • Paid maternity leave for the period of authorised absence granted by your university, up to a maximum of 17 weeks.
  • Unpaid maternity leave, if an authorised absence is approved by your university, up to a further 35 weeks.

This must immediately follow the paid leave. If you return to your home country to give birth, you are eligible for:

  • One approved CSC funded return airfare for yourself only to the nearest major airport to your home town in your home country. Stipend will be suspended for the duration that the Scholar is out of the country and the period of suspension will be added to the award tenure.

Your maternity leave must start during your award tenure, and no earlier than 11 weeks before the expected date of delivery and no later than the date the baby is born.

The CSC must be notified in writing by the 26th week of pregnancy. Before any maternity leave can be approved, you must also provide:

  • The Expected Date of Delivery from your GP (General Practitioner) or Midwife with confirmation that you are able to fly on the intended date that the Maternity Fare has been requested.
  • The university’s agreement to maternity leave, giving the agreed dates of leave from the university. You should ask your Programme Officer for further information about the CSC Maternity Policy.
Subject to the agreement of your UK university, you may be eligible for up to 6 weeks paid Maternity Leave if the baby is due during your period of study in the UK.
You should ask your Programme Officer for further information about the CSC Maternity Policy.

Paternity leave

You are eligible for two consecutive weeks of paid paternity leave. The paternity leave must be taken either during the last 11 weeks of the pregnancy of your partner, or within 13 weeks of the birth of the baby.

You may be eligible for two consecutive weeks of paid paternity leave. The paternity leave must be taken either during the last 11 weeks of the pregnancy of your partner, or within 13 weeks of the birth of the baby.

You must inform your Programme Officer of your intention to take paternity leave prior to the birth of the baby. In order for paternity leave to be authorised, you must forward confirmation of the due date from the GP/Midwife, and also written confirmation from the university that the paternity leave has been authorised by your Programme Officer.

You should ask your Programme Officer for further information about the CSC Paternity Policy.

Student engagement

The CSC offers a range of student engagement activities to bring Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows together, and to create opportunities that will enhance your award experience.

Coronavirus FAQs – What should I do if I am struggling or if I want to connect with other Scholars?

Events and Development Training

You will have the chance to take part in a wide range of activities, events, and conferences during your time in the UK. The CSC organises a series of activities every year enabling you to meet other Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows as well as offering a Development Training Programme which supports Scholars and Fellows to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development. We will also let you know about opportunities to attend events organised by other Commonwealth or educational organisations.

Whilst many of these opportunities traditionally take the form of face to face events, we are also ensuring there is provision for virtual participation to allow you to connect with other Scholars and Fellows and access training resources online.

You will also have the opportunity to participate in a shared learning experience with other Scholars and Fellows through our online training module, ‘Understanding Development Impact’. This training module is made available through the FutureLearn platform.

To find out more, visit the CSC events page and browse photos from past events on Flickr.

Social media

Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows are deeply engaged in their academic research with the commitment to help improve their home country and beyond. Throughout your scholarship you will have access to a range of opportunities arranged for you by the CSC Secretariat and partner organisations where you will connect with other Scholars and Fellows as well as key figures in your research field and beyond.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK uses social media to further support such engagement, to reach and engage current and new audiences, to highlight and encourage the work of our Scholars and Fellows, to share the impact achieved by our Scholars and Fellows in academia and across the Commonwealth, and to continue building an online CSC community.

Follow the main CSC channels on: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube and find out more about the wide range of Scholar social networking groups that you can join as well as how best to join in online discussions below.

Facebook

The CSC Regional Networks connect Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows in the same university or region across the UK. They offer enriching opportunities to get to know other Scholars and Fellows, through a wide range of events and activities organised throughout the year.

Open to all Scholars and Fellows, each Regional Network has its own Facebook group and a dedicated coordinator from among its members. To find out more about activities in your region and to get in touch with your coordinator, visit the Regional Networks page.

You can also join the Commonwealth Scholars cohort which is for current Scholars and Fellows from a single award year. You will receive an invite to join by the CSC in your COA (Confirmation of Award) email.

Knowledge Hubs

You can also join one of the CSC’s six Knowledge Hubs, which provide a platform for Commonwealth Scholars and alumni studying and working in similar disciplines to network and exchange ideas to support a shared sustainable development outcome. The Knowledge Hubs are run via LinkedIn and are supported by Knowledge Hub Coordinators, who will share insights on their own studies and work, and help you connect with other Scholars and Fellows. To find out more, visit the Knowledge Hubs page.

Twitter

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) encourages Scholars and Fellows to join Twitter and share any exciting news they may have about their studies by tagging us @commschols. By doing this we will be able to retweet and share your research to various partners and help you connect with other Scholars and Fellows for further support for your research as well as any potential collaboration in the future. To follow us on Twitter, visit CSC in the UK.

Common Knowledge

Common Knowledge is the CSC’s magazine for the Commonwealth Scholarships community. It features articles on the work and achievements of current and former Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows, as well as news, events, and alumni updates. The magazine is published twice a year and is also available online.

The CSC is always keen to hear from Scholars and Fellows, so send in your news to your Programme Officer to be included in the magazine, social media or on the CSC website.

Connecting by email

CSCmail is the monthly email newsletter for all CSC Scholars and Fellows containing information about your award, as well as updates from the Programme Team and news of activities you can get involved in.

If you have a story about a piece of work or research that you would like to share with the CSC community, you can contact us at engage@cscuk.org.uk. We are always keen to hear about the projects that Scholars and Fellows are involved in.

Crediting your award

If you want to credit your award in your thesis, dissertation, presentation, poster, or other appropriate medium, you should do so in the following ways:

SCHOLARS: [Your name] is a Commonwealth Scholar, funded by the UK government.
PROFESSIONAL FELLOWS: [Your name] is a Commonwealth Professional Fellow, funded by the UK government.
MEDICAL FELLOWS: [Your name] is a Commonwealth Medical Fellow, funded by the UK government.

End of your award

Completion of tenure

Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships aim to equip Scholars to contribute to the development of their home countries, and to help Fellows benefit their employing universities/organisations. Commonwealth Scholarships are awarded for the completion of one course of study only. When you accept your award, you commit to return to your home country after the end of your award.

You must leave the UK within one month of the end of your award tenure or one month after the end of your programme, whichever is earlier. If you fail to do so, your airfare and excess baggage entitlements may be withdrawn. You cannot remain in the UK to attend graduation ceremonies that take place after this point and the CSC does not support Scholars remaining in the UK under the Graduate Immigration Route.

You must leave the UK within five days of the end of your award

You must inform your Programme Officer of your departure date at least eight weeks in advance (or when the CSC request for this), so that a suitable flight can be arranged, and your allowances are paid correctly. Your stipend and any allowances will stop on the last day of your award, or on the day that you leave the UK, whichever is earlier.

Your final quarter’s stipend will be held and will not be released until you confirm your homeward flight booking.

You must let your Programme Officer know when you are due to complete and must have a valid deferment of airfare in place to qualify for a homeward airfare and excess baggage allowance.
You must arrange your flight with your university, which will cover the costs. Once you have done this, you must complete and send a departure form to your Programme Officer.

Please see the CSC Policy on Requests to Enter or Remain in the UK for Further Study if you have received an offer to undertake a PhD at a UK institution with full funding to cover tuition fees and maintenance.

Coronavirus FAQs – I would like to remain in the UK for longer. Will I be permitted to remain in the UK until the end of my visa or under the new Graduate Route opening in July 2021?

Travel from the UK

Travel arrangements

Your Programme Officer will advise you on the procedure for booking your flight home. Any flights booked without following this procedure will not be reimbursed.

Your award covers the cost of travel from the nearest major airport to your university/host organisation in the UK (as determined by the CSC) to the nearest major airport to your address in your home country. The airfare will be chosen by the CSC travel provider. If you want to specify a particular airline, you may be asked to pay the difference in the cost of the airfare. Deviations from the approved route are not usually approved and are subject to limitations; you must pay any extra costs. Please refer to the CSC Travel Policy.

If you need to change the date of your flight for reasons within your control, you must pay the cost of any changes. If you miss your flight, and the reason is within your control, you will be liable for any costs incurred in booking a new flight. You must contact your Programme Officer as soon as possible if you need to change your flight.

All flights must be booked within the CSC Travel Policy.

Coronavirus FAQs

The rules around international travel are subject to Coronavirus restrictions. Please see the following sections of the Coronavirus FAQs:

  • What if I am due to go home?
  • What if I want to return home early and complete the rest of my studies virtually from my home country?
  • What if I want to return home at the end of my award but my Government has closed its border?
  • What do I do if I am in the UK and my visa has expired or will expire soon?
  • Do I need a Covid-19 test to travel home and who will pay for this?

Travel expenses

Your award covers the following travel expenses:

  • Fares: One standard-class train or coach fare, if appropriate, and one single economy airfare booked through the CSC-approved travel provider on an approved carrier using the most economic and practical route possible, in accordance with airline schedules and the CSC Travel Policy.
  • Luggage expenses: If your award is more than three months long, a fixed rate (non- negotiable) non-accountable allowance for excess baggage. This will allow you to send considerably more baggage by air freight or as unaccompanied personal effects.
  • Taxi, Tube or local bus fares will not be reimbursed.

Family members’ fares

You are personally responsible for the fares and luggage expenses of your family members. These can be arranged by the CSC travel provider and billed to you separately.

After your award

Alumni

You are a Commonwealth Scholar for life and part of a community of over 28,500 Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows funded through the CSC. As an engaged alumnus, you will:

  • Receive a CSC certificate verifying your scholarship or fellowship.
  • Have the opportunity to feature in and contribute to Common Knowledge, the CSC’s magazine for the Commonwealth Scholarships community.
  • Be able to join and contribute to local alumni associations (where applicable) and attend in- country events.
  • Receive The Common Room, our quarterly alumni email newsletter featuring updates from the CSC community.
  • Have access to the CSC’s six Knowledge Hubs, which provide a platform to network and exchange ideas with Scholars and alumni studying and working in similar disciplines.
  • Have the opportunity to attend and deliver live webinars through the Knowledge Hub webinar series. The series provides a platform for Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni to discuss their work and contribution to development across a range of contemporary global challenges, and provide insight into ongoing research and action.
  • Be eligible to apply to join the Alumni Advisory Panel and contribute to the development of CSC activities.
  • Have the opportunity to take part in the annual research impact prize, for doctoral Scholars and graduates only.
  • Apply to become a Mentor to a new Scholar through the CSC Mentoring Programme.

To find out more about the CSC Alumni Network, visit the Alumni page or contact alumni@cscuk.org.uk

Evaluation

The CSC Evaluation and Monitoring Programme is responsible for investigating the outcomes and impact of Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships and providing evidence of this impact to the CSC’s funders and other stakeholders.

The Evaluation team relies on Scholars and Fellows to help with this, mostly through pre- and post-award surveys and increasingly through more in-depth activities, such as interviews or focus groups. The team aims to ensure that this is not onerous for Scholars and Fellows – most of you will simply be invited to complete surveys at particular points before and after your award, but there are opportunities to play a more active role, for example through the work of the Alumni Advisory Panel or by contributing to specific research projects.

To find out more, visit the Evaluation and Monitoring page or contact evaluation@cscuk.org.uk. Thank you in advance for your assistance with this very important work.