Master the art of financing postgraduate studies

Almost two million students in the UK are entering the final stages of their undergraduate degrees. But with next year's postgraduate courses kicking off in September students need to decide soon whether to enrol on another degree. One of the biggest barriers is securing the necessary funding, but there are options for students keen to continue their studies.

For starters, banks are keen to help. "Professional and career development loans are extremely important in helping people to increase their professional knowledge and build on their skills and experience," says James Hillion, head of lending at the Co-operative Bank. He says the main attraction of the loans is that you can "relax while the Government pays the interest during your studies and up to one month afterwards". From the banks' point of view, assisting students now can ensure a long-term relationship, leading to much more profitable business for the banks.

To qualify for this type of loan, your course does not have to necessarily lead to a qualification, but it must help with your career prospects. The loans are particularly popular with people starting Masters courses as they are a good way to fund course fees.

But banks' development loans are not the only option. There are other solutions for would-be postgraduate students wary about interest rates charged on the loans, especially if their finances are already groaning under the weight of a crippling amount of debt.

It's worth bearing in mind that the development loans are not the student-friendly loans given out by the Student Loan Company, with their flexible repayment times and amounts. Repayments have to start almost as soon as you finish your studies, which can make them very daunting.

Suzie Crossland, a current Masters student, went to the bank at the beginning of her course to get funding for her degree, but says that the limited repayment holiday at the end of the course put her off. "The loans are great if you can guarantee that you will be in employment within a month of finishing the course, but with the job market as it is, I just couldn't take that risk," she says.

Some universities provide funded places for students. So it is worth finding out what is available and where. Universities offer a range of scholarships and funded places with dedicated pages on their websites outlining how to apply for the awards and schemes on offer. They vary from full course funding to smaller cash prizes.

In his Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance published last autumn, Lord Browne advised that postgraduate study should not have its funding changed. However, he stressed that close attention to the enrolment numbers will be needed after the planned hike in tuition fees starts in 2012 to prevent a drop-off in the number of students entering on to postgraduate courses. That could be of benefit to Masters students – there could be a dramatic increase in the number of awards offered by universities trying to keep their enrolment numbers up.

Scholarships, sponsorship and loans

another way of funding postgraduate study is Employment Sponsorships. In some cases employers are willing to sponsor a student and help towards or pay for the entire course fees, but only as long as that course is relevant to advancing skills applicable for your job.        

Charities, foundations and trusts are able to provide students with some of the funding they need for their studies, but these are awarded from smaller pools of money than funded studentships and so do not typically offer to fund the entire costs of study. Typically they provide options in which students can get partial funding for their studies. These can be in the form of scholarships, studentships, bursaries, competitions and prizes. You can search a database of grants at the charity website turn2us.org.uk. If none of these seem like suitable options then you could do what thousands of students do each year, and work part-time to support living and course expenses.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

News
i100
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Voices
The number of children in relative income poverty is currently 2.3 million in the UK
voices

Environment
A Brazilian wandering spider
natureIt's worth knowing for next time one appears in your bananas
Life and Style
Time and Oak have developed a product that allows drinkers to customise the flavour and improve the quality of cheaper whiskey
food + drink

Sport
football

Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday

Life and Style
The final 12 acts will be facing Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mel B and Louis Walsh tonight
fashion

The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

    £18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

    ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

    £60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

    Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

    £60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

    Project Coordinator - 12 month contract

    £27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...

    Day In a Page

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past