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We've been helping students find the right postgraduate course for over a decade.
You may know you can get a postgraduate loan of up to £11,222 (or more) for a Masters. That probably seems like a lot of money (and it is!) but it’s unlikely to cover the entirety of your tuition fees and your living expenses.
Indeed, we calculated that someone studying the average taught Masters in Sheffield would have to make up a shortfall of around £5,300 in funding, even if they claimed the full £11,222 postgrad loan.
So, you’re possibly wondering where to look for this spare £5,300. It’s hardly the kind of sum you might hope to find stuffed down the side of your sofa (unless your name is Tony Soprano). The good news is there are plenty of ways you can ‘top up’ your postgraduate loan to cover the costs of a Masters. You might have to be a little creative but it is possible.
You’d probably be surprised by the range of scholarships on offer by universities, which usually come in a few different forms:
These kinds of scholarship don’t normally affect your eligibility for a Masters loan (or vice versa), making them a great way of supplementing your funds for the duration of your studies.
We’ve put together a handy (and rather long) list of links to each UK university’s postgraduate funding page – this is an excellent way of starting your search for a university scholarship.
If you want to study a Masters at the same university as your Bachelors degree, it’s likely that you’ll be eligible for an alumni discount on your tuition fees. This is usually 10%, which means that you’ll pay £794 less for the average UK taught Masters – not to be sniffed at.
Of course, depending on the cost of the Masters you’re applying for, the reduction could be greater (or smaller).
There are usually certain conditions attached to an alumni discount. For example, you may need to have graduated within a certain time period. And you won’t be able to claim the discount in cash – instead, it’ll simply be applied to your tuition fee invoice.
Find out more about alumni discounts.
Beyond the universities themselves, there are lots of charities and trusts that offer financial support to postgraduate students. In fact, the sheer number of these organisations – which come in all shapes and sizes – can sometimes make it difficult to work out where exactly to begin your search.
Luckily, there are a few resources that can help you with this:
Some charities are huge, like the Wellcome Trust and its £20 billion endowment. Others are tiny and cater to some fairly niche circumstances, such as the Clan Forsyth Society – dedicated to people whose surname is Forsyth.
Part-time employment is a necessary evil for many Masters students, helping to bridge the gap between the postgraduate loan and their tuition fees / living expenses.
With a little planning and excellent time management skills, it’s possible to balance part-time work with a Masters programme. Of course, coronavirus has made part-time work harder to come by, particularly in-person roles. You may want to explore possibilities for online work, offering your graduate skills as a tutor or freelancing.
Editor's note: This blog was originally published on 11/07/2019. We've reviewed and updated it for current readers.
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Don't feel intimidated by the prospect of a Masters dissertation – these are some tips for making the jump from undergraduate level.
Some common misunderstandings can make postgraduate student loans seem a lot more complicated than they actually are.
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