Off the Beaten Track – Tips for Finding Alternative Finance
When you’re planning for your studies, making sure that you’ve applied for your student finance is an important part of your arrangements. In terms of information and guidance about funding, the major emphasis is on the statutory student finance system – and, rightly so as this is likely to form the lion’s share of the money available to you.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is the end of the story –additional sources of funding are often available to help get a few more pounds into your coffers.
Before your studies begin, and at the same time as you’re researching the statutory funding available to you, look out for additional support. Don’t be put off by the name of the charity – they used to have a subsidiary called the Educational Grants Advisory Service, and this is still reflected in the current contact email address.
Once you’ve checked that out, you might want to contact the Advice Service at your course provider – this could be within the Students’ Union. They may well have details of providers of funds local to where you study, or for the course you’re studying.
In addition, they may be able to give you further ideas of trust funds and charities who may be able to assist you based on your personal circumstances (so be prepared for questions about your parents’ occupations, or which electoral ward you usually live in).
When you apply for additional funding from smaller trusts or charities, or even through your course provider’s discretionary funds, do some basic groundwork as follows:
Check what the application form, or other instructions you have been given, requires you to do.
Set out a rationale describing why you’re applying for financial assistance. Describe what steps you’ve already taken to secure finance, and then describe what issues have arisen which have indicated you require further funds to get by. Describe what employment opportunities you’ve explored, or gained. If you’re not working, or not able to work, explain why.
Obtain copies of your latest bank statements for all accounts you hold.
Obtain copies of all documents relating to your income, and your essential expenditure (household bills, travel, shopping – itemise these on your bank statement if you can).
Create an income/expenditure sheet (if one isn’t already on the application form) so you can clearly demonstrate how your money is spent.