Postgraduate Funding for University Students through Grants from Charity | GradFunding



Rachel Goldie, MA Art, Royal College of Art
Funding for Fees and Maintenance
alex whiteborder

I completed my BA in Textiles and Surface Design at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. Throughout my final year I knew that I wanted to continue my studies by completing a Masters Degree. It had always been a dream on mine to study and live in London. So, I worked hard to put a portfolio together and I applied to the prestigious Royal College of Art (entirely postgraduate art and design school).

I was over the moon when I secured a place on the course, but this was just the beginning of the challenge as I now faced the daunting task of raising funds to cover the £18,000 fees for two years as well as the cost of living in the capital. A friend gave me details on the Dewar Arts award which offers support to young people from Scotland who wish to pursue further creative education. This was my first application and got the ball rolling on my search.

At the same time, I was working really hard to find more funding by trawling through grants directories in the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. This was very laborious as you have to contact each fund directly to find out if you are eligible. I also began to send out unsolicited requests to individuals and companies that I thought might have the means to help me. At first I found this quite difficult. However, as time went on and I began to worry I wouldn’t be able to take my place these reservations disappeared. After writing hundreds of letter, I got my first sponsorship from BP who gave me £1000. I was ecstatic! Finally, it seemed that I was making progress.

Then, a careers advisor recommended The Alternative Funding guide to me. This was extremely helpful as all the hard work had already been done for me and I could access an online database containing numerous bodies I was eligible for which meant I could focus my time on applications rather than just searching.

The applications themselves were quite involved. This was my first experience of applying for funding, so I had to learn fast. With each one I grew more confident and could get through them faster. It was hard not to get my hopes up each time but I became used to receiving disappointing news and managed to discipline myself to persist!

In the end I secured funding from the Dewar Arts Award, The Cross Trust, Coats Foundation, McGlashan Trust, BP, Tunnocks, The Eaton Fund, Yorkshire Ladies’ Council of Education, JTH Charitable Trust and received a bursary from the RCA.

The best piece of advice I could give any prospective student looking to secure funding is to be resilient; determination and persistence pays off. Good luck!

Rachel was one of the winners of our annual Alternative Guide Prize draws, winning a prize of £100. Congratulations! If you would like to apply to our next prize draw, you can do so here.