Where do I start?
If you’re a new full-time student, the financial help you get depends on a lot of things, such as what course you’re on, where you live while you’re at university, and your individual circumstances. There’s lots of funding out there, it’s just a case of being aware of what’s available and whether you’re eligible. This website is a good place to start. You can find out about all the funding options available to you, which could help make your decision about which university to go to, and how you finance yourself once you’re at university. You should also pay a visit to your Student Services and ask them to explain the different types of financial assistance they have on offer.
When should I look for funding?
The sooner you start to look for funding, the better. Student life doesn’t last long and going to university can be an expensive business, so if you’re going to get some financial help, it’s best to start early. Apply for funding as soon as possible. Some schemes will have a limited amount of money which will run out towards the end of the academic year. The sooner you apply, the better your chances of getting some money. Start early in the year as the application process could take time. However, if you don’t apply straightaway, don’t worry. Funding is available throughout the year. If you find a grant or scholarship you’re interested in, don’t wait until the deadline to hand in your application, get it done as soon as possible.
The loan no student can live without. Here are some things to remember:
- You should apply for your loan by mid-June to ensure that it gets to you by the start of term in September. Being poor in Fresher’s week is never fun. If you miss it, don’t worry, it just means that you might receive your loan a little (or a lot) later.
- Your maintenance loan is paid into your account in three instalments at the beginning of each term. Try to budget so that the loan lasts for the whole term. However tempting it is, don’t spend it all at once!
- If you apply for it, your tuition fees loan is paid straight to your university or college, so it doesn’t have to sit in your bank account while you worry about trying not to spend it.
- Make sure that if you’re eligible, you apply for an income assessed loan. If your parents earn below a certain amount, you could be entitled to more money.
When you’re applying for your student loan, make sure that you tick the box on the application form that gives your and your parents’ ‘consent to share’ your information. This allows your information to be sent to your university or college so that they can assess you and see if you’re eligible for any of their bursaries or scholarships.
Every university is different and the kinds of funding they offer and dates for application depend on the individual institution. Look at the information on the places you’re interested in on this site to find out more about particular universities.
Other kinds of funding
- Industrial sponsorships and work placements – Have a think about organisations whose headquarters are in your local area. You’ll have a better chance of getting some funding from someone local and it’ll make it easier and less expensive for you.
- Charitable funding – Again, think locally. Do some research into local charities and what they have to offer. Heartfelt pledges are welcome – applying for charity funding is a more personal process than applying for a student loan.
Information to support your application
The more evidence you can supply to support the fact that you need funding the better. What you’ll be asked to provide depends on the kind of funding you’re after and who’s providing it. Here’s a quick list of the type of things they might ask for:
- Proof of address
- Bank statements
- Utility bills
- Evidence of any other funding you’re receiving, and the number of bank accounts you have
Top 5 tips when applying for funding
1. Pester people!
You’ll never know what you’re entitled to unless you ask. Find out who deals with funding at your university and pay them a visit. Keep at it – there’s lots available, it’s just a case of finding out where it is.
2. Take it all!
Borrow the maximum amount from the student loans company. It’s better to borrow from them than be forced to get a credit card or overdraft when times get hard. If you don’t spend it, put it into a savings account and watch it grow!
3. Apply early!
Don’t wait until everyone else has applied for a grant – get in there first and you’ll have more chance of being given some cash.
4. Don’t get it wrong!
When you submit your application, double check that all the details are right. Make sure that you have all the documents that they have asked for – don’t wait for them to tell you, just get it right in the first place.
5. Don’t give up!
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Think outside the box and find ways of showing things from different perspectives. If one grant doesn’t look hopeful then try another one.