United Kingdom and Ireland
At the universities of Dublin, Oxford and Cambridge, and at the public schools of Westminster, Charterhouse, St Paul's, Eton, Winchester, Harrow, Wellington College and various other UK educational establishments such as the University of Sheffield, an exhibition is a small financial award or grant to an individual student, normally on grounds of merit (at Oxford and Cambridge, for example, it is typical to be awarded an exhibition for near-first-class performance in examinations) or demonstrable necessity (in the case of Sheffield's Petrie Watson Exhibition, it is a grant awarded for projects which enhance or complement a current programme of study). The amount is typically less than a scholarship that covers tuition fees and/or maintenance.
In 1873 Annie Rogers came top in Oxford's examinations and she was automatically qualified for an exhibition at Balliol or Worcester College, Oxford. She was denied the place because she was female. As a consolation prize she was given six volumes of Homer and her place was given to the boy who had come sixth in the tests.
An exhibitioner is a student who has been awarded an exhibition (as a scholar, in this context, is one who has been awarded a scholarship). The term is in decline because financial assistance to students is increasingly given on the grounds of need rather than scholastic merit, and because the value of historically long-standing exhibitions has dwindled due to inflation.
- Scholarships, Exhibitions and Bursaries Archived 21 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Wellington College, UK.
- Petrie Watson Exhibitions, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Sheffield. Retrieved 22 January 2020
- Annie Rogers Archived 10 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Founding Fellows, St Annes Oxford, Retrieved 13 October 2016