Most students are already aware that the government will pay for your education at university, and then you pay them back once you earn over a certain threshold after graduation. They also know that there is a maintenance grant available of around £3,000 per annum depending on your parent’s income and whereabouts you live in the country.
However, many students are not aware of all of the various other monies that are available to them when studying at university to support learning. Here we’ll take a look at FREE money you may be entitled to that you do not have to pay back, provided you meet the conditions and abide by the terms.
These are awarded usually in your first year of university for showing a high degree of excellence in your chosen subject at A-Level or some other extracurricular activity. Scholarships can be given if you have an aptitude for Music or Sports, and they will help you continue to develop your chosen discipline, nurturing your unique talent. They can also be given for ‘shortage’ subjects when the country needs people in certain professions, and usually, it is paid to the university to reduce your student loans.
For the past few years, Britain has desperately needed mathematics teachers in secondary schools, so rewards such as a ‘golden hello’ are awarded to students whose aim is to become one – but this is just one example of many. The NHS also offers similar scholarships for niche professions such as radiology, or whatever is deemed to be lacking that current year. Academic scholarships for students showing high potential in regular subjects are usually very competitive.
Slightly different to a scholarship, a bursary is a payment made by an employer or the university itself to assist students who may struggle to get through their studies without extra funds. In return, the student is usually obliged to complete their degree in full, and may even do some additional work for the employer to compensate. Bursaries are usually means-tested based on your parent’s salaries and/or savings so that only those students most in need can apply for them. It is like a top-up to help you cover living expenses, but not really for tuition – that’s what scholarships are for.
A grant is a financial payment made more often than not directly to you, and for a specific need or purpose related to your studies. Students wishing to study abroad can sometimes be eligible for a grant from either the UK or EU funds, and if you are intending to carry out some kind of research then you can apply to various relevant bodies for a grant from them. You need to be in the academic sphere to apply for grants because the main purpose of them is to further knowledge in your chosen discipline.
If you are attending university against the odds, then universities often have something called a hardship fund. If you have children, and especially if you are a single parent, then you are likely to receive some extra money to help you juggle parenthood and your studies.
These are also paid out to people who come from families with a low combined income, or even if you are an adult learner with other financial obligations that may deter you from completing your studies. If you are disabled, have lived in care, or are classed as homeless, then you are likely to have a better chance of obtaining a hardship payment.
If you have children living with you whilst you are attending university, you are entitled to claim some form of child tax credits for their welfare. If you are working less than 16 hours per week in addition to studying, you can also claim income support to top up your earnings. If you work over 16 hours per week then it’s likely you should also be able to claim for some element of working tax credit too. Within a few years, something called Universal Credit will be rolled out to cover all of these three separate payments.
Do your financial research before you attend university, even as you’re attending your open days because you never know just what is on offer from each university until you make the active decision to seek out what you can and can’t claim for.
As a student, any extra money goes a long way to keeping you financially stable, and therefore able to competently complete your degree. Don’t forget, banks also have special flexible rates and terms for students, including hefty overdrafts and long-term, low-interest student loans.