Postgraduate Funding for University Students through Grants from Charity | GradFunding

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Katie Chalmers, MA Music Therapy, Royal Northern College of Music
Funding for Maintenance
katie whiteborder

From the age of 14 I have wanted to train to be a Music Therapist. I have always had a passion for music making but wanted to be able to use my musical skills alongside my drive for helping and caring for people in some way. The only thing stopping me was a lack of finances to pay for the course- a Masters in Music Therapy. I come from a low income background but did not want this to stop me achieving my dreams.

I knew I would have to save £8500 for the fees alone. On top of this I would need a considerable amount of money to spend on course books and equipment such as a video recorder, plus fees for professional psychotherapy which is a requirement for trainee therapists. It was hard work, but over 8 years I raised most the fees myself through hard work and dedication.  At 24 I felt ready to apply - and was overjoyed when I got offered a place at Royal Northern College of Music! It was at that time when I began to worry about maintenance costs- the Masters course was full time and despite two part-time jobs to support me, it would not be enough to live on for two years.

One day, I was searching online for funding options and was incredibly lucky to come across the Alternative Guide for Postgrad Funding. The guide was so useful in terms of identifying charities or trusts as potential supporters. I sent off over 20 applications. I was lucky because I was still 24 at this point – many charities seemed to support up to the age of 24, although there were a considerable amount who supported over 25s too.

I was slightly disheartened at first when a few unsuccessful letters came back – however the main reasons seemed to be that the charity was not offering money at that time, or that they didn’t support music subjects! It wasn’t long before I got an award of £200 to put towards my course fees. This was from the Yorkshire Training Fund for Women. I am from Yorkshire – there are many charities in the list that focus on all areas of the country though. To apply for this award I had to fill out an application form and explain my financial situation.

The second award was a generous £1,000 from the Sidney Perry Foundation, who are going to send the award when the second year of my course begins. For this award I had to give them more information, such as why I am studying for this course and what my educational background consists of so far. I also needed to send two references with the application. I was overjoyed when I received the letter detailing the award!

The most recent grant I have received was £100 from the S C Witting Trust. This trust required a letter of financial support from one of my course tutors, as well as a letter from myself detailing my financial need. This award was specifically to spend on course equipment. I have been able to put the money towards a video camera which is needed for the supervision aspect of Music Therapy training. People do want to help when they can see you have a passion for something and want to use it to support others in some way or make a difference.

I cannot state enough how helpful the alternative guide has been! Do not hesitate to subscribe – finding the charities without it would have been so much harder. Without the support I have received I would be in real financial difficulty on the course – so I also would like to thank the three charities and trusts that have awarded me with grants. Your generosity will not go to waste!

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