Funding options for your postgraduate certificate can seem a lot more limited than other forms of postgraduate study, such as Masters and PhDs. There are still plenty of options out there though, you just might have to look a little harder.
We’re going to take a look at some of the ways that you might want to approach funding your studies, to help you pick the right one for you. Note that the new Postgraduate Loans backed by the government are not available for those studying for a Postgraduate Certificate - even if you later convert your certificate into a masters degree.
Many universities and colleges offer tailored support, grants and bursaries for those studying for certificates. Some will be means tested, others will be merit tested, while others may even be first come first served.
It always pays to check the website of anywhere you intend to apply for to see what kind of help is on offer - speak to the admissions office to find out more about each grant, and whether you’d likely to be eligible. You may find that you’re only able to apply for some funding after you’ve started your course.
If you’re able to undertake a part-time certificate which helps with your career, then some employers may be willing to help. Your company may run a scheme to help with extra education, but even if it doesn’t, it’s worth speaking to your manager to see if there’s anything they can do.
You can also speak to the university or college to see if they have any links with companies who help provide financial support with training, or combine employment with education.
There are plenty of organisations out there ready to help students facing financial difficulties. Although funding may be primarily aimed at PhD or research students, that's not to say it’s exclusively so.
Take a look at directories such as Charities Digest. Alternatively, try doing a Google search for the name of your course (or subject) with the word “funding”. Again, speak to the institution you want to apply to, as they should have a list of connected charities and organisations who can help.
Think carefully about this one, but helping to fund your own studies can also be beneficial to your learning. Rather than looking for shop or bar work, consider office or temp work which matches your subject.
If you can, look for flexible contracts which allow you to drop back your hours if you need to, or ramp up the hours if you have a quiet week. Some jobs may even allow you to work from home, giving you the best flexibility to fit learning around your studies. If you’re not sure where to start, most universities have a careers or jobs department which can help students find employment.
Another one to think carefully about. Private postgraduate loans are available but often come with strict criteria. They can also have higher interest rates than other loans on the market. It may actually be better value to take out a regular bank loan. It pays to shop around online.
The key thing to remember is that you will need to pay the loan amount and the interest off afterwards. So think about how you will do that before you commit.
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