Recently someone asked me if there were any alternatives when it comes to student funding. This is a question I hadn’t really thought about, as I was fortunate enough to go down the standard route of a student loan through the student loan company. So, I did a little bit of investigating, and as it turns out – there are a few alternative options.
This guide focuses on funding available for UK students.
Student Loan Company
The Student Loan Company helps with tuition fees, grants and loans for students in the UK, a non profit organisation owned by the government. This should be your first stop when looking at funding for your studies. The finance you are entitled to depends on where you live, not where you are going to study. There are different departments for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Follow the link below to find out more about the service.
Bursaries and Scholarships
Individual universities run their own bursary and scholarship programmes and each one is different. They can be offered in addition to student loans and generally do not have to be paid back. It is worth visiting your university finance department or check out their website to find out what might be available to you.
Sadly some government backed schemes were stopped in 2014, and are no longer available.
Commercial Companies and Charities
Some companies will offer assistance with funding, often leading to a position in the company upon leaving university. Again it is worth contacting your university to see if there are any local schemes that you could be involved with.
There are a few charities that offer funding or loans, generally related to the field of study.
The RIBA has a comprehensive list of the costs of being an architecture student along with suggestions for funding. There are many options, various scholarships and bursaries which I would highly recommend investigating.
This website offers links and information for funding options. They have a search function where you can enter the course area you are on, and level and see what funding suggestions come up. The results are often related to a particular university. It is worth taking a look at this.
Disabled Students Allowance
This provides extra financial help for disabled students, and meet extra costs of things like specialist equipment, note-taker and so on. Further information on this can be found here:
Society for Promoting the Training of Women
The Society for Promoting the Training of Women which offers loans to women training for professional, commercial or technical work – so architecture would come under that category.
The UK Council for International Student Affairs promotes and protects the needs of international students in the UK, they offer advice and funding possibilities for overseas students.
Professional and Career Development Loans
These loans are available through major high street banks, in partnership with the government. Students are able to borrow between £300 and £10000 at a fixed interest rate for up to two years of learning and not pay anything back until you have finished your studies.
Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding
There is also a really useful document called the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding – which is available from most university websites – you just have to send them an email to request it. Full of really useful information – highly recommend.
There is no doubt obtaining funding has become more difficult as fees have increased, and it makes you question whether university is the best option for future careers. However, there are still funding options available, it takes a bit of research, a bit of time and a bit of perseverance. You can also consider competitions. Some student competitions have cash prizes. It is also good for your portfolio, your CV and future employment prospects to show your enthusiasm for the subject.