Written by Sarah Stacey
MA Radio Production
There’s no denying it: postgraduate study is a big financial commitment. It’s a lot of money to invest in one year, and many people worry about how to pay for it. Funding was certainly my main concern throughout the application process. I really wanted to do my Master’s, but at the same time I wasn’t sure how I would manage. As well as the fees, there was also accommodation to consider, not to mention everyday living costs. It all seemed very overwhelming.
When looking for support at home in Ireland, I found there were very few funding options for postgraduate students, especially those looking to go overseas. In the end, a Credit Union loan saved the day. It covered both fees and accommodation costs, which was a relief.
Being awarded the Academic Scholarship by BU made a huge difference, as I had my tuition fees reduced by £2,000. This is given to applicants who achieve certain grades in their undergraduate degree; in my case, the criteria was a 2.1 with a minimum of 65% (other countries will have different grading systems). The great thing is that you don’t have to apply for this scholarship; it’s automatically awarded if you achieve the required grades. There are also lots of other scholarships offered by BU that are well worth checking out.
During online registration, I was able to take advantage of the early payment discount for choosing to pay my fees in full rather than in instalments. I was fortunate to have this option, as my loan had already come through, and it was very helpful.
It would have been impossible for me to do any of this without the support of my parents. With my sister also doing a degree, it hasn’t been an easy time financially, but they have been amazing throughout. Quite literally, I would starve without them! They are the reason I can afford to buy food each week. I always keep this in mind and try to be as responsible as I can with money. Now that I have a part-time job, I’m hoping this will ease some of the burden on my parents, but I’m still very grateful for their help.
If you’re worried about funding a Master’s degree, I would say that there’s always a way, you just need to research your options. Most of the time loans are inevitable, so have a look around as early as possible for one that suits you. If you’re starting your studies in September 2016, keep an eye out for more news on the new government postgraduate loan scheme. Scholarships can also be a great help.
It’s a big investment, but if it’s what you want, it should be worth every penny.
By Sarah Stacey