Applying to study at a UK university brings a few issues students have to deal with, including the financial side of education. The UK universities are known for the highest quality of education they provide but, in most cases, the best education comes with an impressive price. Education in the Kingdom is pricey but desirable.
Local students are supported by the government and have lower tuition price tags. International students, on the contrary, have to pay quite a sum for each semester. Both types of students can get financial support in several ways. We have already discussed the basic student finance options, but what to do when your scholarship doesn’t cover all expenses and a loan is too much to handle? Are there any additional ways to enrich your budget?
Luckily, yes. Student funding is not limited to loans, grants, and scholarships. While most people have high hopes for those sources, others know where to get money outside of them. Become one of those people with our guide!
If your income is so low that any funding that you’ve already gotten isn’t enough, you may apply for some extra money. Note that these options can only serve as extra help and have to be fought for. In order to get any of them, you have to offer documents that prove your low income and provide information to persuade the government to help you.
The first option is to apply for Universal Credit. This is a bit different from student loans and can be given to anybody facing financial difficulties. This is a loan for your living expenses. The interest rates are not as mild as with student credits.
Another option is sending a student finance application to charitable trusts. All funds are dedicating to certain problems people face every day. And while most of them are more specific than the general lack of income, there are quite a few that you can apply to.
The last option is to apply directly to your university. Some establishments have a part of their university funding set for extra money to help their students. They may lend you a share as a loan, others may simply gift them to students in need. It all depends on your establishment policies and its budget.
These are often called hardship funds. Universities pay for these funds themselves and they have the full right to decide whom to award it on their own. Usually, there is an application for student hardship fund you can fill in and state the cause of your troubles. It may be either long-term lack of funds or an unexpected bill that you cannot cover, both will be taken into account. To get an application and learn about requirements, you should visit your establishment’s finance department or student services. Think about all circumstances that influence your situation and gather all the necessary documents.
Income Support is offered to students who meet these requirements: get the severe disability premium or get the premium last month, which still makes them eligible. You also have to have no income or low income, have no full-time work, live in England, Scotland, or Whales, and not be eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance. And there are two more additional requirements. The first – you must be between 16 and the age qualifying for Pension Credit. The second, you have to be either: pregnant, a lone parent, carer, one maternity/paternity leave, in full-time education (not university) and a parent, unable to work, a refugee learning English. Note that you do not need a permanent address to apply for this Income Support.
Another extra financial help for students with special needs is Disabled Students’ Allowance that will cover some of your costs. This is extra money that you can get in addition to your regular student funding. The size of funding you get depends on your individual needs that are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Some extra help is available for part-time students depending on course intensity. As of now, the general allowance of full-time students is up to £1,899 a year and for part-time students – £1,424 a year, which is approximately £50 more than the previous academic year.
As for the financial support for students with children or dependents, there are a couple of options as well. Childcare grant is awarded to full-time students with children under 15. If a child has special needs, the age is increased to 17.
Parents’ Learning Allowance is for people with dependents on their household income. This is also extra help that does not affect your regular student finance.
Adult Dependents’ Grant is a bit different from the previous options. This is for students who have an adult depending on them. If you apply for this grant, you can get up to £3,000 a year. Note that this grant isn’t available if you are getting a Postgraduate loan.
Fee waivers are a kind of student support that can reduce your tuition fees. Fee waivers just cover a part of your tuition expenses and do not have to be paid back. They can be either mixed with scholarships and bursaries or you can get just them. A university will either reduce the amount you have to pay for a year or give you a check for money to cover the said part of costs. They are based on low income. However, there are cases when a university would cancel application fees as a kind of waiver for certain students. The requirements may be various, from visiting a campus to applying online, to simply sending an application waiver request directly to school before the start of the application period.
Another form of financial support you may be interested in awarded to medical, social work, and teacher training students. These three departments get the most extra funding. There are NHS bursaries for certain medical and healthcare courses, as well as travel support for UK clinical placements. Extra help is also available for teacher training, both for undergraduates and graduates.
Social workers can seek various kinds of bursaries.
According to statistics, 60 percent of UK students do not apply for any kind of scholarships or bursaries. That is why the market of student loans is full of low-income families that cannot fully repay that kind of money with the set interest rates, especially when they are flexible.
Student finance help is available to most people, to a certain scale. Usually, there is no limit on how much applications you can send to various student help sources. Some of them are mutually exclusive and you have to check eligibility requirements. But don’t be shy to apply for more and more funding if you find that higher education is too expensive for you.
If you wonder when to apply for student finance, do it as soon as you send an application to a higher education establishment. And continue doing it for as long as you study. There is no rule that forbids you to seek financial help when an academic year is already in full swing.
Student funding is a multi-faceted structure that encompasses various organizations and you can always find a new support offer to apply to.