It is a strong belief of mine that the plight of a person in search of the knowledge they need/crave/deserve (delete as applicable) should be funded accordingly, for the simple reason that as human beings, knowledge is central to a greater general well-being and comprehension. How a person chooses to derive said knowledge of a subject(s) is another matter entirely, but for those who seek it at educational institutions the world over, access should be universal with no exception.
Of course things aren't as straight forward as this, as is made painfully obvious by government policy reforms and student protests. But for the typical student, there are certain avenues available to help ease pocket-centric woes which should be made abundantly clear, something which I will aim to do throughout the course of this post and this blog as a whole.
Now I have applied for a PCDL, otherwise known as a Professional Career Development Loan. You can apply for anything up to £10,000 to be repaid over a period of between 1 and 5 years with the condition that a) your University is an accepted institution and b) your course is on a list of accepted courses.
You have to apply for the loan with a bank (either Barclays which takes up to 12 weeks, or Co-op which takes up to 8) and the Skills Funding Agency will pay the interest over the course of your studies. Upon completion however, you are liable to repay the loan with a rate of interest, which is currently 9.9%.
It does sound daunting but if you are committed to your studies and the line of career which you hope to pursue, its worth it, especially if, like me, you can't get the money elsewhere. I would strongly suggest however, that everyone should make this decision independently, as it is a huge one and the suitability of the loan is based largely on personal circumstances/preferences.
A great website to explore options you probably didn't even know you had is the postgraduate section of the Prospects website. Here you can search and filter through thousands of grants available all with various different stipulations and deadlines, applicable to a myriad of courses and circumstances. It is important to get in early though, as naturally most will close applications for the proceeding academic year with a few months to spare.
Similarly, Turn2Us provides a search system which can help you find various forms of financial assistance from charities or other grant-giving organisations.
Another option is to look for a grant through Family Action, a "leading provider of services to disadvantaged and socially isolated families since its foundation in 1869." This would seem to be available only to those wishing to study postgraduate degrees in Britain so is unfortunately not applicable to me but it should be mentioned regardless.
Each website will obviously go into greater detail about the services they provide and offer advice on aspects of financial troubles and postgraduate study (particularly Prospects) so I would advise that you visit each one and search thoroughly to see whether you can help offset the costs and pressures of completing what should be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.
I would like to finish on an apology for a complete wall of text.