Extra Financial Help for Students in the UK

Navigating the financial landscape of higher education can take time and effort for UK university students. With the rising costs of living and tuition fees, finding extra funding for students becomes not just an option but a necessity for many.

Piggy bank with a graduation cap

This guide will explore various avenues for students seeking financial support, highlighting government initiatives, university-specific programs, and contributions from private and charitable sectors.

Government-Based Funding Options

Exploring government-based funding options unveils a trio of avenues for UK students seeking extra student funding. Tuition Fee Loans, Maintenance Loans, and Supplementary Grants collectively aim to dismantle financial barriers, enhance university funding, and ensure robust financial support for students across the UK.

Tuition Fee Loans

Tuition Fee Loans offer a direct route to extra student funding, covering the full cost of undergraduate courses for UK students. This government initiative ensures that tuition fees are not an obstacle, as these loans are paid directly to universities. This removes the need for upfront payments, enabling students from various backgrounds to access higher education without the immediate financial burden.

Maintenance Loans

The UK government provides maintenance loans to address the cost of living for students. These loans are tailored to individual needs, with the amount available influenced by household income and whether a student’s study location is away from home or in London due to the higher living costs in the capital.

This form of financial support for students can help cover daily expenses such as accommodation, food, and travel. It reflects an understanding of students’ diverse financial situations, offering a flexible solution to support their study journey.

Supplementary Grants

Supplementary Grants, including the Disabled Students’ Allowance, Childcare Grant, and Parents’ Learning Allowance, offer extra financial help for students in the UK facing specific challenges. These grants provide targeted support, ensuring that students with disabilities, those with children, or students returning to education who might face financial barriers, have the necessary resources to succeed in their academic pursuits.

Stack of books with "grant" blocks and piggy bank with glasses

By offering these specialized forms of financial support, the government ensures that students will have the chance to benefit from higher education, regardless of their personal circumstances.

University and College-Specific Funding

Universities and colleges across the UK recognize the diverse needs of their students by offering a range of specific funding opportunities. These include bursaries, scholarships, and hardship funds, each tailored to support students from various backgrounds and circumstances, ensuring that financial barriers do not hinder educational progress.

Bursaries and Scholarships

Bursaries and scholarships represent a significant source of extra financial help for students in the UK, directly addressing the financial challenges faced by students. Unlike loans, these funds do not require repayment, acting as free money for students.

Bursaries are primarily aimed at students from lower-income families. If your household income falls below a certain threshold, you might be eligible for a bursary to help cover essential costs like tuition, books, and living expenses. To apply, you’ll usually need to provide details about your family’s financial situation.

Scholarships, meanwhile, are awarded for a variety of reasons — stellar grades, athletic excellence, or even unique talents in arts or leadership. These are competitive and meant to reward outstanding achievement. Whether it’s reducing tuition costs or covering them entirely, scholarships often come with perks like stipends for living expenses.

Together, these forms of university funding democratize access to higher education, enabling talented and deserving students to pursue their academic goals regardless of their financial situation.

Hardship Funds

Hardship funds are designed to offer financial help to students who encounter unexpected financial difficulties during their course of study. These funds can be a lifeline, covering essential expenses such as emergency accommodation, unexpected travel costs, or urgent academic-related expenses. Accessible through individual institutions, these funds exemplify the commitment to providing comprehensive financial support for students, ensuring that unforeseen circumstances do not derail their education.

Bursaries, scholarships, and hardship funds highlight the tailored approach institutions take to offering extra financial help for students in the UK. Through these specific funding opportunities, students can focus on their studies and achieve their academic and professional aspirations, supported by a foundation of financial security.

Private and Charitable Trusts

Private and charitable trusts stand out as essential contributors to the landscape of extra student funding, presenting opportunities beyond governmental and institutional aid. These sources of funding bridge the gap for students whose needs are not fully met by other means.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Scholarships and fellowships from private organizations and charitable trusts offer financial support to students. These awards are often targeted at students who excel in particular fields of study that align with the sponsors’ interests, such as public health, environmental science, or the arts.

Key with "scholarship" tag and graduation cap

Unlike university-provided funds, these scholarships and fellowships are frequently open to a wide range of applicants, including those studying at various universities across the UK or even internationally. Fellowships, in particular, support deeper study or research and generally include a stipend, allowing recipients to dedicate themselves fully to their academic pursuits.

The unique aspect of these awards lies in their additional perks. Recipients may gain access to mentoring by experienced professionals, invitations to networking events, and participation in workshops that focus on career skills. These opportunities are designed to weave students into professional networks and equip them with tools for future success.

By offering such comprehensive support, private and charitable scholarships and fellowships do more than just fund education; they connect students to communities and resources that can be instrumental in their professional growth. This distinguishes them from the more straightforward financial assistance provided by universities, emphasizing their role in fostering future leaders within specialized fields.

Educational Charities

Educational charities across the UK provide grants and bursaries for students who encounter financial barriers to accessing education. Targeting support towards students from low-income backgrounds, those with disabilities, and individuals returning to education, these charities work to ensure that higher education is accessible to all. By offering extra financial help for students in the UK, these charities address the cost of living for students and other expenses, ensuring that financial constraints do not impede one’s ability to pursue and succeed in higher education.

Professional and Career Development Loans

​​Professional and Career Development Loans were once a popular choice for UK students seeking financial assistance for further education and skill development. However, these loans are no longer available, prompting students to explore alternative sources of funding for their professional growth.

Consider these alternatives to Career Development Loans:

  • Explore Postgraduate, Doctoral, or part-time Student Loans for financial support.
  • Investigate bursaries offered by various charities and organizations to help with course fees. Extensive research can uncover many options.
  • If applicable, request sponsorship from your employer, especially if the course would be advantageous to the company.
  • Consider a degree apprenticeship, where you’d typically work 80% of the time and spend the remaining 20% at university. This option often includes tuition fee coverage by your employer along with a salary.
  • Opt for part-time study while maintaining employment to manage expenses.
  • Learn ways to have more money even without working.

External Funding Resources

UK students seeking extra funding should explore a variety of local and specialized resources beyond traditional scholarships and loans. Contacting your local council and searching online with ‘student grants’ plus your county can uncover support from local charities and businesses.

Professional organizations and societies related to your intended career, as well as unions connected to your family, may offer additional financial help. Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe also provide a modern avenue to raise funds.

For immediate financial difficulties, don’t hesitate to seek advice and support from your university or national charities focused on student welfare. Remember, strengthening your financial literacy will aid you in managing these resources effectively and planning for your educational future.

Final Thoughts

The journey through university is both exciting and challenging, with financial management being a significant aspect of the experience. Exploring the myriad of extra student funding options available can alleviate some of the financial pressures and enhance your educational journey. Remember, the key to securing additional funding lies in thorough research, timely applications, and tapping into less conventional resources that may not be as widely publicized. With the right approach, financial support is within reach, opening the door to a wealth of opportunities and experiences in higher education.