WordPress plugin: Scholarship Finder

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) awards over 800 scholarships and fellowships for postgraduate study and professional development to Commonwealth citizens each year.

I was asked to make a new scholarship finder so that potential applicants could find out which scholarships they are eligible to apply for more easily.

Being a UK Government funded organisation there are stringent accessibility requirements, which further added to the complexity.


I made a custom WordPress plugin, with a custom post type for scholarships and a custom taxonomy for countries. This allows us to query the scholarships by country.

To make it easy for this functionality to be deployed to any part of the site I created a custom page template to hold the form applicants would use to find relevant scholarships. Early on, we made the decision that results should appear on the same page as the form to make the experience seamless, but for users without JavaScript enabled we’d have to reload the page.

For the reload, I simply used a WP_Query to load the results and wiped the results on each search. When applicants have JavaScript activated I ran the query using the WP API.

User Interface

The interface was kept as simple as possible, allowing CSCUK to add content to the page above the form and having a single select and a submit button. The results are displayed simply with a heading, description and link to apply for that particular scholarship and are separated by a thin coloured border which reflects the branding of each scholarship. It’s subtle but distinctive and tries not to distract the user from useful information.

Admin Interface

By using custom post types and taxonomies the CSCUK administrators don’t need to learn any new interfaces, everything is native and familiar to them already. This not only reduced time in getting them ready to use the new tool, but also means that it’s easy to respond to change and keep the data up to date.

Try It Out

That’s enough reading for now – why not go and try the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission Scholarship Finder.