Funding your studies: UK student finance and beyond
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Funding your studies: UK student finance and beyond

Funding your studies: UK student finance and beyond

So, you want to study abroad in the UK but aren’t sure what funding you are eligible to receive? While you might be able to get funding from the UK government if you qualify as a ‘home student’, it is more likely you are out there on your own.

But it’s not as bad as it seems. There are plenty of routes you can take even if you – or your family – don’t have thousands and thousands of dollars saved up in the bank.

So, what’s the cost?

In order to study in the UK you need to prove you have at least £1,020 (US$1,430) per month for living expenses throughout the course of your studies if you are in London and £820 ($1,150) elsewhere in the UK, as well as the means to pay for your tuition.

Tuition costs vary, but it doesn’t come cheap. According to QS Top Universities, undergraduate international students in the 2017/18 intake were charged a minimum of £10,000 ($14,100) per year in tuition fees for lecture-based courses, but this reached highs of over £38,000 ($53,700) for top undergraduate medical degrees.

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Sadly, it is kinda expensive. Source: GIPHY.

Studying in the UK becomes even more expensive at postgraduate level with classroom-based programs costing around £11,000 ($15,550) annually, but rising as high as £32,000 ($45,200). For laboratory-based programs, on average fees range from £12,000 ($16,900) to £27,200 ($38,400).

It is safe to say studying in the UK comes with a hefty price tag. So just what can you do to help ease the financial burden?

Funding from university

You could receive funding from your university directly. In some cases, you are automatically entitled to financial support depending on your university fees, your course and your institution.

Most universities have their own unique rules about who does and doesn’t qualify for their funding so check universities’ websites or ask admissions staff what types of funding are available to you. You could be eligible for a scholarship due to your academic or sporting achievements or be granted funding for personal circumstances.

If you are a postgraduate student there are many options through university scholarships and awards available to international students so be sure to reach out and ask.

Funding from your home country

Few students are aware that their home country could actually be one of the biggest sources of their student funding. This could come either from the local government or from local companies.

Reach out to your local government office. You can do this pretty easily online through its website and ask what funding it provides.

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Maybe don’t put that in the email. Source: GIPHY.

Brainstorm a list of numerous large companies located in your home country which may be willing to fund you. Write letters (or emails) inquiring whether they would be able to assist you in your studies.

Ideally, the company will have some relevance to your degree as they may wish to hire you upon your graduation. Although bear in mind, many of these companies are likely to require you to return home after your studies are complete so if you do not wish to do this, funding from a local company may not be your best plan.

Funding from international organisations

No luck locally? You might be able to score funding from an international organisation. There are numerous global organisations that grant aid to students all over the world so they can study abroad. Consider the following to get you started:

You are likely to need to be applying from your home country and many of them can be very competitive so make sure you apply early.

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If only it would rain money… Source: GIPHY.

UK government funding

As previously mentioned, you can only receive government funding as a UK resident or if you qualify as a home student. You are considered a home student if you:

  • – Usually live in the UK or have ‘settled status’ (no restrictions on how long you can stay)
  • – Have been living in the UK for three years before starting your course
  • – Will be living in the UK on the first day of your first academic year

Doesn’t sound like you? There are other ways you could be eligible for UK government funding. If you are:

  • – A European Union (EU) national
  • – A family member of an EU national
  • – The child of a Swiss national
  • – The child of a Turkish worker
  • – A European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss migrant worker
  • – A family member of an EEA or Swiss migrant worker
  • – A refugee
  • – A family member of a refugee
  • – Or an asylum seeker with humanitarian protection (as a result of a failed application for asylum)

Each UK nation provides student finance separately, so if you study in Wales, for example, student finance is provided by Student Finance Wales.

And if none of these apply to you, just follow the advice above!

Bear in mind, the rules are complicated so if in doubt about your status, contact Student Finance EnglandStudent Finance WalesStudent Finance Northern Ireland, or the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) depending on where you are hoping to study. Alternatively, you could reach out to an adviser at the institute(s) you are hoping to study at. Good luck!

**All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change so always ensure you check the UK government website or with your university or the UK embassy if in doubt.

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