Written by
from England

2014/15

MSc Public Health

With tuition fees, accommodation, day-to-day living expenses and perhaps relocation costs and conferences or other educational activities, postgraduate study isn’t cheap!  Fortunately there are numerous ways to fund your studies and support available to soften the blow.  Here I give a brief overview of the options and tips for funding your time at BU.

Fees for taught postgraduate courses at BU are anything between £5,500 and £11,250, depending on the subject.  Some people are eligible for a discount on this; BU graduates are entitled to a 20% reduction.  Also, a 5% discount is awarded for paying the full tuition free amount on enrolment.  Otherwise, BU offers the option to pay in three instalments across six months, making the cost more manageable.

Outside of BU itself, there is a range of other possible sources of funding.  The UK government offers Professional and Career Development Loans of £300 – £10,000 for those taking postgraduate courses lasting 2 years or fewer (3 years for those including a year of work experience).  Additionally, this year the government has launched a Postgraduate Loan scheme, which is similar to the undergraduate Student Finance system, although happily with a lower interest rate. These are only available for English and EU students for taught Master’s study.

Alternatively, in some cases it is possible that an individual or organisation will pay all or some of your fees for you.  BU offers a range of scholarships for both UK and international students, by which they will award partial or total tuition fees to students who show an exceptional level of excellence in academia, sport or music.  If your studies are relevant to your work, it may be that your employer will cover your fees and/or allow you to study during working hours.  Finally, don’t underestimate the potential generosity of friends or family who may be willing to cover the costs for you, either as a gift or a loan.  Even if you have to pay them back, you’ll probably fair better than you would if you took a loan from the government and had to pay interest (I like to think friends and relatives would accept a face-value repayment!).

During your studies, the most obvious way to fund your living costs is full or part-time work.  It’s important to balance work, study and leisure time, so make sure your working hours allow for this at the same time as providing you with the income you need.  If you don’t already have a job, check out my tips on part-time work in and around Bournemouth.  Working as a BU Student Ambassador is a particularly good option if you’re looking for ad-hoc work that fits around your studies and other commitments.  You can also minimise your living costs by living with family or finding a house-share or student accommodation.

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Extra-curricular activities such as attending conferences can be a powerful way to supplement your studies, but often conference registration and travel expenses can make this a very pricey pastime.  Fortunately, there are various bursaries available to help find such ventures, both locally and overseas. For instance, BU offers the Santander Mobility Award and Global Horizons Fund.  There is a wealth of other schemes available too, and applicable ones will vary depending on your subject area and the nature of the activity you want to fund.  Two of the best ways to find out about what might be available are checking information from the governing body for your field, or a good old Google search.

Finally, there are always ways to save money or supplement your income during your time at university.  Why not see if you have any unwanted items to sell online or take to a car boot sale?  Use one of your skills outside of your studies to make a bit of money ad-hoc, such as freelance writing or selling artwork or crafts. And spend your pennies wisely, making the most of student discounts and other money-saving tricks.

So how have I funded my own Master’s journey? I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been loaned the tuition fees by my grandparents, which I can’t thank them enough for.  On the other hand, I’m confident that had this not been the case I would have been able to make it work either by using a loan or saving hard and paying through BU’s three instalment arrangement.  As for living costs, I’m studying part-time, which leaves enough time to work almost full-time in a good job and earn my pennies.  This allows me to live quite comfortably; if I were earning less I’d make ends meet by missing a few luxuries such as eating out and buying nice cycling gear!

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By Lauren Bishop

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