No matter how much money you have in your wallet, the cost of studying abroad in UK may add up fast and exceed what you actually possess. This is another way of saying that you need to seek financial aid for international students in UK to finance your studies regardless.

Parallel to being world’s toppers, UK universities are among the most expensive in the world. For the absolute majority of foreign students the cost of seeking a degree in UK must be supported from additional funds otherwise it is not affordable.

But, contrary to what most foreign students believe there’s a wide range of financial aids for international students available in the UK.

Available financial aid for international students in UK

There are several resources of financial aids available for international students, but we can divide them into three main categories:

  • Student loans
  • Scholarships
  • Private grants

Student loans

UK demonstrates a higher commitment to offering optimal conditions for study maintaining a rich scheme of student loans and need-based or merit-based grants. But, unfortunately, not all groups of international students in UK are entitled to governmental student loan schemes.

In the present (at least until UK exits from EU) foreign students coming from EU countries enjoy the same treatment as home students. This means they enjoy the same benefits as resident students in UK.

On the other hand, students who originate from non-EU countries don’t enjoy such benefits including here the access to student loans. That said if you’re a student coming from other parts of the world rather than EU or EEA that you have to look for other financial aid for international students in UK alternatives. But, don’t worry there are still many opportunities.

There are two types of state-governed student loans in UK: tuition fee loans and maintenance loans. The former is issued for covering your university fees, whereas the latter is awarded to cover household spendings. Furthermore, tuition fee loans are directly paid to your university while a maintenance loan is deposited in your bank each at the beginning of each university term (or every month in Scotland).

The amount of money you can borrow changes depending on what tuition fees your university applies and the academic level of the chosen course. Knowing that UK universities are allowed to charge undergraduate home and EU students with tuition fees up to £9,250 then at maximum you can borrow £9,250. With that said we implied that your university undergraduate tuition fees are actually the capping amount of money, you can get a student loan. On the other hand, at the postgraduate level, you can get a loan of up to £10,609.

Note that student loans must be paid back, in contrast to other forms of financial aids for international students like scholarships or merit-based grants. But there’s no need to worry because you’ll start paying your debt only after you graduate and find a job whose salary is above the repayment threshold. Much better, you will pay according to how much you earn and there will be only a small rate applied to you.

If you’re a non-EU student it’s unlikely you will find a student loan in UK granted by the governmental authorities.  The only option left to you is the University of your choice. Universities are allowed to establish their own student loan schemes for talented students, including those coming here from other countries than EU countries. For this, we highly suggest you mail your university and see if they run a student loan scheme on their own and ask what are the terms and conditions.

A second chance for you can be the financial resources in your home country. Often education authorities support students abroad by awarding student loans or similar grants. If there are no funds you can ask private companies to provide funds to study in UK while giving them something in reward. Commonly, such a reward can be a repayment with an interest rate or an agreement which obligates you to return home after graduation and work in that company for a certain time period.

Scholarships

Scholarships are a good resource for financial aid for international students in UK. There’s a wide range of them and chances are higher you’re going to find something suitable. Just take your time and find one.

There are two types of scholarships for international students in UK

  1. Governmental scholarships.
  2. University scholarships.

Governmental scholarships

There are several scholarships funded by the British government awarded to talented international students. The following are the two main  state-governed scholarship schemes in UK

Chevening Scholarships – is the UK national scheme of scholarships and fellowships for foreign students. They generate funds from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and aim to financially support students with high academic potential. Students coming from particular countries and attending a postgraduate taught program are eligible to apply for a Chevening scholarship or Fellowship. Note that the application can be carried online. For further information http://www.chevening.org/apply

Commonwealth Scholarships–  Is an international scholarship program governed jointly by 53 countries part of the Commonwealth of Nations or shortly Commonwealth as it’s known.  As a participant, the UK awards over 900 scholarships and fellowships to distinguished students coming from developing Commonwealth countries to study in UK. These types of grants are awarded for students attending a postgraduate course. Typically, this bursary covers tuition fees, flying tickets from home to the UK and vice versa and a monthly allowance.

University scholarships

UK universities are home to a large portion of foreign students and to maintain their attractiveness at higher levels they have established a wide range of scholarship programs. In addition to governmental scholarships, numerous non-governmental organizations and universities provide financial aid for international students in UK.

Some of the non-governmental scholarships offered in UK are shown below

  • Royal Society grants
  • The Newton Fund
  • S. Hornby Trust Scholarship Programme
  • Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships
  • Young Cell Scheme
  • International Atomic Energy Agency Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
  • Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust Scholarships
  • UK-China HE Research Partnership for PhD Studies
  • Great China Scholarships
  • Great India Scholarships
  • Marshall Scholarships
  • Marshall Sheffield Fellowships

Private grants

Aside from the scholarships and student loans, private grants are another alternative resource of financial aid for international students in UK. Often there are companies or non-governmental organizations that are ready to finance your education in UK.

You can ask them for these much-coveted funds either in the form of loans or charitable funds. If you take a loan you can sign a certain agreement that defines the time limit within which you must give your money back or the method how this is going to be done.

More often than not, companies are ready to help students in UK under the condition that they will come back to work for them once they get their degree. In such a scenario, it’s a win-win situation for both of you: you get your university degree in UK while the company hires an exceptional employee.

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