04 August 2016 | Career Advice | Guest Author
Once you find out about the costs involved with funding a masters degree, you may worry about how you’ll ever afford to manage financially. Along with tuition fees, another significant expense is likely to be accommodation, plus you’ll also need to budget for day-to-day living costs such as food, travel, course materials, and hopefully even a social life! Seeking out funding for a postgraduate degree is not as simple as it is for undergraduate courses, but there are a number of options you can consider as you take the next step.
Apply for a Postgraduate Solutions Study Bursary
Students who are planning to begin a postgraduate course in the academic year 2016/17 can still apply for a Postgrad Solutions Study Bursary, to ease their financial worries. 15 individual bursaries of £500 will be awarded to students from across the globe and a wide selection of subjects are covered, plus if you don’t see yours on the list, simply go for the General Postgrad Solutions Study bursary. Once you have accepted an offer from the university of your choice, you can apply for one bursary. Application forms can be filled in online and it usually takes just five minutes to complete the process, well worth the chance to gain a £500 windfall.
Get a university scholarship
Universities know that funding forms a big part of choosing where to study, so some offer financial incentives to certain students in the form of a scholarship. Many UK universities only consider British applicants and scholarships are often based on academic achievement, though some also consider financial need. Other factors will relate to whether you are receiving a supplementary grant and your family income, but you may also be entitled to help based on your gender, ethnic group and ambitions.
Find a part-time job
Working part time is another good option to help you fund your postgrad programme, but be careful not to overstretch yourself as a postgraduate course is rather demanding on your time. But if you are able to use your time management skills to juggle the demands of study and employment, it can be a rewarding experience. Some students are lucky enough to find a role on campus, either in the library, as a research assistant, or in student services, but others have to rely on a less CV-developing job that at least helps pay the bills.
Take out a postgraduate loan
Postgraduate loans are available to students that are undertaking a taught or research masters course. You can apply from June in the academic year you wish to study. In order to be eligible for a PGL, UK students need to have been resident in the UK for the last three years and living in England most recently. Also you should be under 60 years of age on the first day of your course, and have no arrears on any previous educational loans. Most postgraduate courses are accepted and students can study for one or two years in full-time education, or part time for between two and four years. The PGL loan conditions are more favourable than general loans; currently students are not asked to begin repayments until their wages reach £21,000 and the instalments will represent 6% of their income above that amount.
Dip into your personal savings pot
If you’re coming to postgraduate study later in life, you may have managed to put away some money, which can now be drawn upon when you start the course. This can leave you without a financial safety net further down the line, but it means you won’t end up graduating with the same huge debts as other students.