Waseem Abdullah, PGDip Physician, University of Birmingham
Raising Money for Diploma Fees
I am currently studying the Physician Associate course(postgraduate diploma - PGDip) at the University of Birmingham. Early on in life, I always wanted to be a clinician, yet the financial aspects of postgraduate studies seemed impossible to cover. Undertaking part-time work was out of the window as the course requires 50+ hours studying per week and the interest accrued on a Professional Development Loan was too much to bear, considering I am already in debt from my undergraduate degree. The University provided limited help, until I came across The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding. Not only did this guide provide a list of charities tailored to assist students, it also provided advice about where to search for funding and how to successfully approach charities and trusts.
Finding charities tailored to my needs was one of the most difficult part of the search. The majority of them were for different courses, from different locations and even different genders. Some were very obscure and did not even list their criteria. I sent out many letters and e-mails to the charities and trusts I was eligible to apply for and the replies soon started coming. Most responses told me I was not eligible, while a number told me to apply at a later date. I became so put off applying for financial assistance that I even considered leaving the course.
Persistency certainly did pay off and I have been awarded grants from two charitable organisations. One was the Gabriel Newton Educational Foundation, a local charity helping students in Cambridgeshire and the George Drexler Foundation, which helps students who have a personal or family link in commerce.
The Gabriel Newton application was by far the easier to fill out. It just required filling out an single sided A4 sheet, and sending it off via post with a supporting reference. The George Drexler was more complicated and required a more lengthy personal statement consisting of reasons for applying for a grant, why was I studying the course, why at that specific institution, and to highlight any previous academic achievements and most importantly, the link with commerce.
I am still waiting to hear back from numerous other charities and trusts and keeping my fingers crossed that they too provide me with good news.
I would like to thank the team at Alternative Guide in Postgraduate Funding for all their help in publishing the list of charities and encourage other students to make great use of it.