Postgraduate Funding for University Students through Grants from Charity | GradFunding



Srishti Gupta, MSc Marketing, Nottingham Trent and Loughborough Universities
Funding for Fees and Maintenance
Srishti whiteborder

I graduated from Loughborough University in July with a BSc (Hons) Communication and Media Studies. After a lot of consideration and advice from my lecturers, I decided I wanted to complete a PhD in Big Data Analysis. But in order to pursue my dream, I had to undertake a Masters degree first to further develop my research skills and my PhD idea. As an international student from India, the tuition fee and living expenses were considerably higher than that for home students. Unfortunately, my father had recently been made redundant from his previous job and had limited savings. I also did not want to burden my family with the full cost of my postgraduate education.

I decided to apply for an MSc Marketing degree at Nottingham Trent University. I was lucky enough to secure their International Postgraduate Scholarship, equivalent to half the tuition fee. Despite the scholarship, and with part time minimum work wage, I was still left with a large deficit. Being an international student, I also did not qualify for a Career Development Loan. Also having lived outside of India for more than 12 years, I was ineligible for all the British Council scholarships. I started to lose hope. That’s when a friend pointed me to The Alternative guide to Postgraduate Funding.

I was determined to try everything and anything, so I decided to give this funding method a try. I started by reading the online guide page-to-page. I formulated my enquiry letters using the examples on the Guide as a rough template. Starting with the Guide itself, I made an initial list of charities that I appeared to be eligible for.  I spent hours in the local library looking up the Charities Digest and The Grants Register making similar lists of over 200 charities. I eventually narrowed down the list to about 70 after researching them more closely.

I wrote to each one of these 70 charities, explaining to them my situation. Luckily during this process, a local Loughborough Charity The Bridge, whom I was volunteering with at the time, heard of my endeavour and decided to contribute towards my funding. I was able to add the fact I'd won this award to my cover letters, making me seem more credible. I received more rejections that I could count. This also included a very confused/amused phone call from a local charity that informed me that though I did not qualify for their grant, but they hoped the best for me. However, some charities replied with application forms, but later informed me I was unsuccessful. Through this process I did not lose hope. Eventually two more organisations- The Sidney Perry Foundation and the K.E.S.W.A charity (helps Indian students for educational purposes amongst many other groups) elected to give me grants. Thus, through these 3 organisations I had managed to raise about £2,150 pounds, covering a significant portion of my remaining deficit.

Applying to charities is a long and exhausting process, and one that requires immense dedication. Even though out of all the letters I sent out, I only eventually won three grants, this still made a significant difference to my financial pool. I definitely encourage students to consider this funding method and apply to as many charities as possible!