Guest blogger Written by

Charlotte Tuohy

I am Charlotte Tuohy from the United States of America and I am currently studying a Master’s in Tourism Management and Marketing. Deciding to study in the UK is an exciting stage of planning and research, but there is one key aspect always present in students’ minds – how to pay for it. When I applied to Bournemouth University, I was nervous that it would be difficult to get funding to pay for my studies since I was paying for all of it myself. However, it turned out to be a lot simpler than I expected!

Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)

 I’m sure the top question asked by US students’ top is – how hard is it to find funding for studying in the UK? As an American student in the UK you are still eligible to use FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid), and the loans they provide will cover as much as you need for both educational and living expenses for postgraduate courses and a portion of your tuition costs for undergraduate courses.

Even if you have some funding from scholarships or your own money saved up, you can apply for FAFSA to cover the rest of your expenses through a government loan. You don’t have to start paying back the loan until you finish your degree and I found that it looked a better interest rate than a private bank.

Applying

I started the process of getting my loan in July before I came to Bournemouth in August. However, you can start as soon as you accept your offer at BU. The first step is to apply for student aid through FAFSA. You may have done this process before if you did your undergrad in the US.

After that, email the US Fedloans Team at Bournemouth to let them know you have submitted your FAFSA application. They will help you find out how much aid you need and will also give you the information you will need to complete some of the forms.

Next you will complete the FAFSA entrance counselling and the relevant online forms depending on if you are undergraduate or postgraduate. Once you finish these and let BU know, they will send you the Draft Notification Letter which tells you how much money you will get and when you will get it!

Receiving the money

Picking up your cheques from FAFSA is easy! All you must do is wait for the date given on your notification letter and you will get an e-mail from the BU Cash Office that your cheque is ready. The office is right on campus, so you can pick it up on your way to class and deposit it in your British bank account to use for your expenses.

Remember to budget!

Using FAFSA to fund my studies at BU has been a lot easier than I expected. Be sure to start the process early if it is your only form of funding because you will need proof of your loan (or other funding) to apply for your visa. Also, remember to budget your money and not spend it all too fast so you can pay for rent and food!

Written by Charlotte Tuohy (USA), MSc Tourism Management