Hardship loans

You might be eligible for a hardship loan making ends meet won't be easy. So where do students turn in order to find extra cash?
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You've read how much it's going to cost. You've boned up on student loans, banks and the method of getting assistance with fees. But will there will be a shortfall? Most probably. So where else can you get cash - without holding up a bank?

You've read how much it's going to cost. You've boned up on student loans, banks and the method of getting assistance with fees. But will there will be a shortfall? Most probably. So where else can you get cash - without holding up a bank?

Student loansYou can sometimes borrow more as an addition to the student loan - if for instance your course lasts longer than 38 weeks or obliges you to spend part of it studying in another country. ("Obliges" is the key word here. Choose to do it and you don't qualify.) You can check out possible entitlement in the booklet on student support which is available from the Department for Education and Employment information line, tel 0800 731 9133; or from www.dfee.gov.uk/support/index.htm

Hardship loans You might be eligible for a hardship loan of up to £250 per year. You'll have to prove to your university or college that you are in need. They can then authorise the extra money which will have to be repaid with your ordinary loan.

Access fundsUniversities and colleges receive sums from the government for their access finds. Each institution decides how to allocate the money - whether to give small amounts to lots of students or smaller amounts to those really on the breadline. Enquire at your university/college's student services office about both of these sources.

SponsorshipYou may have heard of this already. It is an arrangement between a student and an employer or professional organisation under which the sponsor gives the student a tax-free sum of money (on average, about £1,300 a year) and pays a wage if the student works for them during vacations. In return, you would agree to do relevant vacation work and training and accept a job if one is offered on graduation.

However, sponsorship is not open to everyone. Most employers are looking for students on engineering, science, computing and business studies courses, although a few sponsor other subjects.

Is it too late to find a sponsor? Not necessarily. Although most closing dates have passed for arranging a sponsorship in advance, the majority of companies now prefer to offer sponsorships to students during their courses, so keep an eye on noticeboards next year.

Look in 'Springboard Student Services, Sponsorship and Funding Directory 2000', published by Hobsons, for details of current opportunities and closing dates for sponsorship.

ScholarshipsMany universities and colleges now award their own scholarships. They may be for students on specific courses or for those with the best entry grades. You can often find details in prospectuses. Other good sources are 'University Scholarships and Awards' (Trotman Publishing) and 'Directory of Higher Education and Bursary Awards' (ISCO Publications).

Note that a large sponsorship sum could affect the amount of money you can borrow through a student loan. Remember that 25 per cent of the student loan amount available is means tested. However, sponsorship money is yours and doesn't have to be repaid.

Charitable trustsThere are not many of these, but anything is worth a try. They may make small payments to students on certain courses, living in certain geographical areas, or whose parents are/were employed in particular industries. Look for the Directory of Educational Trusts in a reference library.

See pages 20-21 to find out how to make the money stretch. Information on part-time work and parental support can be found on pages 24-25 and page 29.

beryldixon@hants23.freeserve.co.uk

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