Options for Financing Your Bachelor’s Degree in the UK

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Options for Financing Your Bachelor’s Degree in the UK

Studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in the United Kingdom is an exciting prospect. However, figuring out how to finance your bachelor’s in the UK may be less enjoyable to think about. Fortunately, there are numerous options to help pay for higher education. The cost of education includes both tuition and living expenses. The latter can be significant, especially for international students. As you are planning how you will pay for your education, remember to budget for housing and food. Researching the specific funding options available to you can help you ensure a strong financial position after graduation. Taking advantage of more scholarships and grants will mean you and/or your family will have to contribute less.

  • Scholarships

    A scholarship may cover some or all of the costs of getting your Bachelor’s Degree. While many think of scholarships as being only for academic achievements, there are actually a wide range of types all with different qualification criteria. Academic: The best-known variety is offered to students who achieve certain levels of academic excellence. This may be earning specified grades on their A-level exams, for example. Other criteria may also be set, especially for international students who have taken other, comparable exams. Athletic: It is no secret that colleges and universities try to attract top-level athletic talent to their student populations. If you have achieved success in the world of sports, you may be eligible for a merit-based scholarship from some universities. Musical: Much like athletics, music programs at the UK’s higher education institutions want to attract great students. So, they offer funds as an incentive to attend. Frequently, these scholarships come with the expectation of performing. For example, the Exeter Cathedral Scholarship Program offers money for students who sing in the Cathedral. Other Extracurricular: Many other interests and hobbies have scholarships and grants associated with them. Contact the universities and colleges you are considering attending to learn what they offer. The term “scholarship” may be used to describe a few different funding mechanisms: scholarships, grants, and bursaries. While there are no firm rules, scholarships are most often associated with achievements in the academic and extracurricular realms. Grants may be for accomplishments but also cover personal costs and financial need. Bursaries are almost exclusively for helping with financial need. Grants offered for personal circumstances may take into account factors such as where you live, what your parents do, and where you go to school. Many other elements may be considered. For example, there are grants targeted at vegetarians. Both the UK government and universities offer scholarships to international students. Government programs may be more competitive but offer a great deal of flexibility.

  • Family

    Before considering other financing options, discuss with your family members what assistance they are willing to offer. In many cases, working with relatives can allow more favorable terms compared to bank or even government loans. Nonetheless, accepting money from family can come with its own considerations. Asking family members for money can be an awkward experience, depending on the relationship. Consider asking for contributions towards your education in lieu of material gifts at birthdays and holidays. The only way to get assistance from relatives is to ask them for it. Family members may also be able to help by purchasing some essentials for you to reduce your living expenses. For example, you may need furniture for your apartment at the university or college. Keep in mind that every family’s financial situation is different, so be realistic about your expectations. When you ask, be clear about the fact the money is going towards your education. Not everyone you ask will be willing and able to help, but there is no harm in discussing the possibility of assistance with your family. If you are considering borrowing money from a family member, clearly layout the terms of the loan. Financial stress can place a great deal of strain on relationships. This can be significantly mitigated if both you and the family member are very clear on what the loan will be used for and when you will pay back the loan.

  • Private Donor

    In some cases, students like yourself can secure funding for college through private donors. These can be wealthy individuals and families or private organizations. Private donors may be seeking to give back to the community or trying to help students who are interested in certain subjects. While there are some private donors who are offering large amounts of funds, these are the minority. Instead, most private scholarships and donations are smaller sums. However, combining funds from several private donors can make significant progress towards financing your bachelor’s degree in the UK. Try looking for private scholarships that are less popular. Full-ride awards that many students qualify for are very competitive. However, donors offering lower amounts and those focused on smaller target populations may be more attainable. Additionally, typically scholarships that require applicants to submit music, art or poetry are less competitive. As an alternative approach to finding private donors, consider crowd-sourced funding websites. These allow you to share your story and collect donations from strangers. While getting donors through these sites can be competitive because they are open to everyone with an internet connection, they can be quite effective if you have a compelling story. Donations from private sources may affect grants and bursaries offered for financial need. So, if you are receiving funds based on need, be sure to fully understand the impact of a private donor before accepting funding.

  • Government Loan

    The UK Government offers financing to students who are seeking bachelor’s and other types of degrees in the UK. Typically, these loans are only available to “home students.” To qualify for this status, you must: Usually live in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, or have a “settled status” Have been living in the United Kingdom for at least three years prior to starting your degree Be living in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales on the first day of your first academic year This status is not restricted to UK nationals. In fact, many European Union nationals are eligible for this status. The best way to determine if you are eligible for funding from the UK Government is to contact the student finance provider for your country of residence in the UK. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland all have their own student finance providers. They offer funding to students living in their respective UK countries. So, contact the appropriate body for your country of residence. The rules for UK Government loans are complicated and can be difficult to navigate. Consider contacting the UK Council for International Student Affairs to better understand which funding programs you are eligible for.

  • Bank Loan

    Although they are typically more expensive than other financing options, bank loans are available to nearly all students and may provide larger funding amounts. These loans are offered by for-profit organizations, so expect the interest rates and fees to be relatively high. Nonetheless, many students opt for bank loans to cover all or part of their education expenses because the value of a bachelor’s degree make the cost worthwhile. Student loans in the United Kingdom fall into two categories: tuition and maintenance. The former covers only the cost of tuition and the latter covers living expenses. Both types of loans are capped by the UK Government. Tuition cannot exceed £9,000 per year and maintenance loans cannot be greater than £7,751 per school year. So, if you completed a four-year degree and took the maximum amount of student loans, you would be borrowing £67,000. The repayment terms for student loans in the UK are also regulated by the government. Borrower’s monthly payments are capped at 9% of their income. For individuals earning less than £21,000 per year, there is no repayment amount. Similarly, the interest rates are capped and based on the borrower’s income. If you currently reside outside of the United Kingdom, you may be eligible for a bank loan from your home country. Contact your bank to determine what programs they offer for students seeking to study abroad.

  • Making the Right Choice for You

    Everyone’s financial situation is a little different, so there is no single correct solution for paying for higher education. Fortunately, there are many ways to finance your Bachelor’s Degree in the UK. Whether you use scholarships, family assistance, private donors, government loans, bank loans or a combination, you can find ways to fund your studies. Going to a UK university or higher education college can be a great experience. It is an opportunity to receive a world-class education. It can also be expensive, especially if you don’t carefully plan how you will finance your studies. The key to success is finding the right program and the right funding to set yourself up for future success. If you need help determining which UK schools to apply to, use SchoolApply’s powerful matching tools. We do all the research to help you find and get accepted to the right program for you.

Levels Explained

  • Bachelor's

    A bachelor's degree (also called a first degree or undergraduate degree) is attained after receiving a post-secondary (high school) education and generally spans four years. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as bachelor or undergraduate students. A bachelor's degree is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university.

  • Master's

    A master’s degree (or postgraduate or graduate education) involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees. This degree is preceded by a bachelor’s degree and generally takes two years to complete. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as master's, or grad students.

  • Pathway

    Bachelor’s and master’s pathway programs are designed for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation before continuing to a degree program at a university. The purpose of these programs are to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college.