Postgraduate Funding for University Students through Grants from Charity | GradFunding


Oliver Dalby, MSc Marine Environmental Management, University of York
Raising Funding for Fees and Maintenance
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My postgraduate funding story spans a little over two years. Having completed the initial two years of my undergraduate degree in Coastal Marine Biology I had begun to toy with the idea of continuing my study to postgraduate level. After significant discussions with my then academic supervisor I decided to aim for a PhD with the end goal of becoming a university lecturer – a goal that first required completion of an MSc.

I knew I faced a rocky road ahead. After researching degrees and deciding upon the University of York, I had to overcome the small issue of raising some £14,000 to cover both course fees and maintenance costs; despite working 20 hours a week to offset such costs in year three of my undergraduate degree. After three months searching for funding to no avail I came across a video on The Alternative Guide To Postgraduate Funding. This was, at last, the first glimmer of hope of financial security in the coming year. After reading the guide and forming a funding portfolio outlining my financial situation, academic history and career aspirations, it was time to locate potential funders.

At this point, the process really picked up pace. Through the search engines present on Turn2Us and The Alternative Guide To Postgraduate Funding I identified around 40 charitable bodies whose eligibility criteria seemed to align with either my academic, societal or economic background. After contacting each of these bodies (spending a considerable amount on stamps in the process) I received four positive replies from: The Scarborough Municipal Charities, Prowdes Educational Foundation, Sidney Perry Foundation and the Humanitarian Trust. Although at the time four positive responses seemed a small proportion of the number I contacted, each successful application represented £450-1000. As such, by the end of my final year of undergraduate study I had collected just short of £4,000, which coupled with a government postgraduate loan meant I could both attend the course and be financially stable!

Since enrolling on the MSc I have continued searching for charitable funding and currently have a further two applications in processing for finance of an international research placement and additional maintenance fees. All whilst being able to focus entirely on my research through not having to work part time.

Overall, I owe my current enrolment and future career prospects to The Alternative Guide To Postgraduate Funding. Its simplification of the process and clear outline made sense of what is arguably a mine field of funding alternatives. However dire your current financial situation The Alternative Guide To Postgraduate Funding represents a key tool that can bridge the financial gap, especially in underfunded sectors such as the marine sciences. As with my experience, the alignment between your chosen field and the aims of the charity is key. The majority of my funding came from boards committed to higher education and academic excellence- however the possibilities are truly limitless for connections. Novel trusts such as the vegetarian charity support students solely based on their eating habits whilst others are only available for speakers of certain languages. Therefore, no matter your academic or personal background there’s a considerable chance that you will be able to find a charity whose criteria align with your own. So, what are you waiting for? Money can seem like a monstrous barrier to overcome but with The Alternative Guide To Postgraduate Funding such a barrier can easily be overcome!