Master's Funding: My Experience and Tipsby Amy
Other than making sure your Master's application is as strong as possible, ensuring you have the funding you need is the next important stage. Read below the experience of one of our postgraduate students, Amy, and her top tips for applying for funding.
When I decided to apply for a Master’s in Media and Journalism, I knew I needed to sort out my funding and student finance sooner rather than later. For me, the finance aspect of a Master’s was a huge factor in whether I pursued postgraduate study or not as, like everybody else, I had just spent three years at university and already had a student loan.
What should I do first?
The first thing I did was look at the course I was going to apply to, as the Media and Journalism MA course page breaks down the course fees.
However, I needed a little more information before I filed my application. So, during the Newcastle University Postgraduate Open Day, I attended a talk on funding. The open day was so informative, and gave me the opportunity to ask questions and get a clear picture of how Master's funding works, and what my next steps needed to be.
Once I had done all my research, I applied for my Master’s and sent in my application. It was when I received my unconditional offer that I then moved on to organise my finances, and applied for my Postgraduate Master’s Loan.
In my opinion, applying for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan is a lot easier compared to undergraduate study. Everyone is entitled to the same amount for postgraduate study - you can get up to £11,570 - and the amount you receive doesn’t rely on your parents’ income.
After the process of applying for my loan, I had to wait to hear whether I was eligible. Your eligibility for Master's funding depends on:
- Your course
- Your age
- Your nationality
- If you’ve had a Master’s loan previously
Luckily, the wait wasn’t long, and I heard back from Student Finance England quite quickly. They informed me I was eligible for the maximum Postgraduate Master’s Loan.
So, I accepted and made note of all the instalments I was going to receive so I knew when the loan was going to be in my student account, and I could budget around it.
What is the difference between undergraduate and postgraduate loans?
Other than the amount you receive, the main difference between undergraduate and postgraduate funding is that, as a Master’s student, you're expected to pay your tuition fees straight to the university from your bank account.
This means you will need to set up a direct debit with Newcastle University to arrange the payments and ensure they align with when you receive your loan. This is all arranged with the University, which means you have plenty of control over how you would like to pay your tuition and I personally found the process easy and stress-free.
Check out Newcastle's funding database for all funding opportunities - it's updated weekly, so it's important to keep checking it!
My top tips for Master's funding and finance
1. Choose a sensible place to live
When I was organising accommodation, I chose a sensible place to live where I knew I could afford rent, bills and other expenses, such as shopping and university resources. You can easily find out the most affordable areas by researching your city of choice, posting questions on student forums and speaking with friends.
In Newcastle, Heaton and Sandyford are incredibly popular among students because of their affordability.
2. Make sure you're not missing out on any additional funding
Just like undergraduate study, when you choose to study a Master's you can benefit from a range of studentships, bursaries and grants. You may have been made aware of funding opportunities during the application process, or during the Postgraduate Open Day. But failing that, this guide by Find a Master's is very useful to help you explore the options available.
3. Budget carefully
The biggest tip I have is to budget. When you find out how much bigger the Master's loan is compared to undergraduate finance, it's understandable to feel tempted to go on a shopping spree!
However, the difference with your Master’s funding is that you pay for your tuition straight from your bank account, so that should be the biggest factor you consider when planning your finances and budgeting.
Consequently, I set out a simple budget for my year as a Master’s student and wrote in when my instalments would come into my account, then when my tuition direct debit would go out, when rent and bills would be paid and how much would be left over.
By creating a simple budget and calendar of important payments, I knew exactly how much money I would be left with. It also helped determine whether I would need to get a part-time job to cover other costs.
4. Remember, you have a full year to cover
Another thing to remember is a Master’s degree is a full year, unlike your undergraduate degree where you only had two semesters, a Master’s degree has three semesters.
So, your money is expected to stretch a lot further, and you’ll potentially be paying more for accommodation as well. Therefore, even though you may have a bigger loan, it doesn’t mean more money to spend on what you want.
I hope you have found this blog post useful. If you have any more questions, you can refer to the postgraduate funding page for more information. Alternatively, if you're just starting to consider postgraduate study, why not explore the range of postgraduate courses available with Newcastle University?
Published By Amy on 20/08/2020 | Last Updated 10/11/2022