I’ve been thinking about it for a while and I’ve decided that I’d like to do a Master’s degree the next academic year! I’ve realised that I still have more to learn and would like to stay in higher education for another year at least. One thing that was worrying me was how I would go about financing it. Having done some research though I’ve discovered that it’s not all doom and gloom!
Postgraduate loans are due to be introduced in August 2016 by Student Finance England – hurray!! This has completely changed the game. I think one of the main reasons people were put off doing postgraduate degrees was the fact that student loans were previously only available for undergraduate students. Before, most people wanting to study at postgraduate level had to rely on things like savings. But now with these loans there is a lot less financial pressure. It just means having to cope with more debt later on in life… yay. But anyway, postgraduate students can borrow up to £10,000. Most postgraduate degrees cost around £7,500 so this loan wouldn’t be enough to cover both tuition fees and living costs. So ideally you’d need to find a part-time job if you took out this kind of loan. This loan however is only available for students wanting to study a Master’s degree (including MA, MSc, MBA, MRes, MPhil, and LLM courses) – they’re not available for PhDs, Postgraduate Diplomas (PGDip), or Certificates (PGCert).
There are also some other options that I’ve looked into. For instance, there are various scholarships or discounts that you can apply for. I’m only eligible for a few of them, though. There’s the Alumni Loyalty Discount which gives students that have already completed an undergraduate degree (or PGCE course) at the University of Leicester a 10% discount off course fees for any postgraduate degree. Not too bad I guess. But I have just recently discovered the University of Leicester Graduate Scholarship, which offers new graduates from the University of Leicester a whopping 50% discount off tuition fees!! To be eligible you need to graduate in 2016 with a 2:1 or better and then apply to start the postgraduate course in 2016. It’s only available for certain courses as well. Fortunately it seems like I’m eligible, provided I get the grades of course. There’s a bunch of other scholarships and discounts which you can find here. Another option is to have your tuition fees funded by a sponsor, but sponsorships are not something I’ve really looked into. I think this is normally for people who have a job already and are then sponsored by their employers to take a postgraduate course.
So my advice is to not be immediately put off doing a postgraduate course because of issues relating to finance. There are options out there for people who don’t have loads of savings which are really worth looking into if you’d like to stay in higher education like me! Paying for a postgraduate course on top of all the undergraduate tuition fees does seem like a pain but actually according to the statistics it’s worth it in the long run!