Taking out a student loan tends to be the immediate thought when considering funding for further education but there are many student grants available that often go overlooked. Grants come in different forms and are awarded for a variety of reasons, and the good thing about them is that, unlike a student loan, they don’t have to be paid back.
There are two different types of basic student grant – Maintenance Grants and Special Support Grants. They are essentially the same thing but if you qualify for a Special Support Grant, the amount you can borrow through a loan isn’t affected, whereas it is if you take out a Maintenance Grant. You need to fulfil the following basic criteria if you want to apply for either type of grant:
- Be a full time student
- Have a household income less than £42,611.
- Be studying a recognised higher education qualification – i.e. BS, BA, BEd, foundation degrees, HND, HNC’s, DipHE, PGCE and ITT courses.
- Be a British citizen and have lived in the UK for the last three years.
- Be studying a publicly funded course.
If you can tick all those boxes you could be eligible for an education grant – see the Government’s grants website for more details on how to apply.
Bursaries, Scholarships and Awards
If you don’t qualify for a government grant there are still other options – many bursaries, scholarships and awards are available, often through private companies or institutions. Competition is fierce and the application process can be lengthy but it’s worth the effort if you think you have a chance of being awarded one. They will each have their own specific qualifying criteria, so you’ll have to do a bit of searching around to find one that’s right for you, but it could be well worth the effort.