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I find it very difficult to talk about money. Whether it’s a matter of pride, or wanting to remain independent, money can be a sticky subject to tackle.

When I decided to embark on a Master’s degree I wasn’t 100% sure how it would be affordable. After weeks of searching online I found some possible grants to apply for, but was rejected by all of them. It seemed that there was plenty of support for undergraduate courses, but for postgraduates it was rather thin.

Every person’s approach to funding will be different, but here’s how I managed mine…

Shortly after my grant rejections I heard about StudentFunder, an independent loan company which specialises in funding postgraduate study. One lengthy application form and a Skype interview later, my loan was approved and it was paid directly to the university to cover my course fees. I was so thankful for having such an easy experience during what could have been a very stressful time. The icing on the cake was that StudentFunder has no early repayment fees and repayment begins six months after graduation.

After securing the loan I was awarded a bursary that gave 25% off tuition. This really took me by surprise and I was so glad I had taken the time to apply back in March – BU offers a range of scholarships for UK and International students and it is worth applying for any that you are eligible for.

I am also extremely fortunate to have the financial support of my parents. My Dad gave me enough to cover my rent for the 12 months – generosity that I will forever marvel at. My Mum has also supported me in times of need, and my family have been very understanding when, in previous years I would have requested fun and exciting Christmas and birthday presents, I now ask for boring old money – it all adds up. I am even more driven to succeed due to the support my family has shown me – I am in it for everyone!

I remain in contact with my old employer and have continued to work on a freelance basis for them. It’s not the most reliable source of income, but I’m always grateful when a few hours’ work drops into my lap.

Finally, I had my own personal savings. I hadn’t saved much – part of why I started the MA was to improve my career prospects and therefore my income too. I was struggling to break even each month, so saving money wasn’t really possible.

If you have managed to save enough money to cover all your course fees and expenses then you are incredible – all of that hard work and determination will likely continue and show during your studies. If, like me, it was more of an impulsive decision to study and you need some help, I hope that you manage to find it whichever way you can. And if times get really tough BU offers a small emergency grant to keep you afloat.

Studying an MA is a tough 12 months of hard work, but it’s incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Don’t let the money worries hold you back – there’s always a way of working it out.


Written by Alice White