So, you’re thinking of doing postgraduate study? Well, if you’re anything like me it’s little bit nerve-racking be taking on any more debt! There are also lots of options out there and it’s quite tricky to make sense of them all and to work out what funding plan might work best for you.
In this blog, I’ll talk you through the different ways that you can fund your postgraduate studies. This will probably be most relevant to UK students but I’ll link at the end to some relevant pages for international and EU students.
Before we get into it, I just want to say: I’m a student myself, a dramatherapy student, I’m not a financial advisor. I’m just a young woman who's waded through the pages and pages of advice before making my own decision on how to fund my studies. I’m sure I don’t need to say it, but when it comes to big decisions like this, remember there is no one size fits all and you should always do what is right for you and your circumstances.
Okay. So, onto the options.
Option 1 - Postgraduate Loan
The UK Government, or more specifically, Student Finance England offer a Masters loan of up to £11,222 for students who have not already got a Masters degree or higher. The payments of this get spread over the time that you’re studying and you’re eligible for this loan regardless of if you’re studying full or part-time. You’ll start paying back this loan, almost like a tax, only when you’re earning over a certain amount of money; this amount is currently £1,750 a month.
Option 2 - student current account
The second option for funding your studies, or perhaps this option is best used for living costs during study, but that’s up to you, is through a UK student current account. Most of these offer interest free overdrafts of up to £2,000 and have freebies such as a 3 year railcard (which can save you a lot of money down the line). Be warned though, after your graduate, like you, this account will graduate too. You’ll then have a certain amount of time, usually a couple of years, to pay back what you’ve borrowed. A suitable one, for me, was Santander's 123 Student Current Account.
Option 3 - bank loan
Some banks and lenders offer private student loans for postgraduate courses. These bank loans are different to the Masters loan provided by the Government (Option 1). These are often offered based on your financial circumstances such as your credit score, and even the employment prospects you might have based on the course you’re planning to study. These loans will usually need to be repaid in set instalments within a specific period. Banks will profit from these and you’ll have to pay back even if you’re not in employment for any reason. Please be careful with this and always consider the Government loan first.
Option 4 - work before study
This option was one of the most suitable for me personally. Working for a couple years before moving into postgraduate study helped me to gain experience in my specific field, as well as in life more generally, but, it also enabled me to save up to some cash to keep myself afloat during my course. If you can take the time out to work, do it, and you’ll hopefully have a bit of cash behind you before you get started.
Option 5 - part-time study
There are some courses that you can study part-time. If yours is one of these, an option that you have is to do part-time work alongside part-time study. Yes, it might take a little longer to get your course completed but it’s probably a drop in the ocean of your whole career. You can also opt to pay in instalments to ensure you give yourself time to get all the finances together.
I hope this helps to give you some clarity on your options for postgraduate funding; I’ve just scratched the surface here so use this as the springboard for some of your own research too.
Further information for EU and international students