Postgraduate Funding for University Students through Grants from Charity | GradFunding

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Introduction

So, you're here to find out about alternative ways to fund postgraduate study?  Welcome to The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online (AGO). Set up in 2013, the AGO is a one-stop shop to a crucial but underrated funding resource in the UK: Charities. Charities are all around us, helping good causes where they find them- and one of those good causes might be your Masters, PhD, or PGCE! It doesn't matter what your subject is, whether you're from the UK or from overseas, whether you're a current or a prospective student, or how good your academic record is. It also doesn't matter whether you need the money for fees, maintenance, or research expenses/conference costs.

Charities aren't like conventional public funders like research councils and university scholarships, which less than 7% of students manage to get. They are also not like postgraduate loans. They are usually informal rather than academic, and anyone can apply to them- from postgraduate students to trainee builders to a residents association who want to renovate some a local park's play area! They have varying priorities- some will want to fund exciting academic research, others the training of skilled professionals, and many simply are concerned with helping cash-strapped students pay their fees and maintenance.  The way you apply to charities is also completely different from public academic scholarships- they often have multiple deadlines a year, short application forms, and require financial statements.

Amounts you can win researchcouncilreplacementare £500-2,000 per award, year. However, you can build up a much larger sum through winning multiple awards! Our team leader won 45, and generated nearly £50,000 throughout his PhD! That said- be realistic. Charities are great for raising a few thousand pounds, but you will have to be unusually successful to raise very large amounts. So they probably won't pay for your course on their own- but they can certainly help a lot!

Sometimes charities' criteria is a little odd
and even 'old fashioned': where you live, your age, your gender, your religion, your subject, what your parents do/did for a living are all common eligibility questions. The Vegetarian Charity, for example, only funds vegetarian or vegan students, and the Leverhulme Trades Charities Trust supports the sons and daughters of grocers, pharmacists, and travelling salesmen! But many bodies are more general, and there are tens of thousands in the UK that all have different priorities.  You just need to be able to find them the right bodies for you, and know how to apply to them in the correct manner. Very few students currently utilise the funding power of charities, so many bodies don't get many applications from postgraduate students.


How to use this Site to get Funding: 3 Key Stages

The Alternative Guide Online is designed to take you through each stage of apply to charity to gain postgraduate funding, stage by stage. There are three key stages to getting funding from charities, and this website is based around them

The first step is to find charities which might sponsor you, using our database and other techniques. The second step is to request forms from the charity and make sure you're eligible. The third step is to apply strongly and in the correct manner, with a well-argued personal statement and a well-organised financial statement.

You can keep track of your ongoing grant applications through our Personal Grants Manager.  Watch our short introductory video at the top of the page which explains how to use the Guide.

The core of this site are the eight master sections represented by the circular icons. If you want to get going straightaway, you can dive straight into our funding database and begin your hunt for charities that will fund you.  But remember that there are no quick or easy solutions to postgraduate funding, and you'll get much further by taking the time to read each of our eight sections, or watch the videos.

If you want to know more about how other students have successfully fundraised their postgraduate degrees using the Alternative Guide, please have a look at our new student stories section here.

The Alternative Guide is also downloadable as a 158-page book as well as a website. The information is exactly the same, but naturally the book goes into more detail. So if you ever want to know more on any section, just click on Jacob the Crow - our cute mascot on the right - when he's engrossed in his book. You can then view the appropriate chapter from the book (or download it as a PDF) to read the full story.

Of course, you don't have to read any of  the PDFs, but advanced users might well find it useful.

Now, I know they'll be some of you who will want to go for the more traditional approach, and just download the whole book as a PDF so you can go and read it cover to cover, or print it out! You can get the full PDF here.  But do of course bear in mind none of the interactive features on this site are included!

Confused? Watch our introductory video on using the Guide in the top right-hand corner! 

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