Student grants and bursaries for college

The academic year for 2011 - 2012 is set to be the most difficult for students ever. In addition to exam results students will face their biggest financial challenge ever.

The government has approved the ceiling for fees to be raised to £6000 per year and in some instances for scientific courses were the third level institution guarantees access to lower income students the fees can be as much as £9000 per annum.

This massive increase has contributed to what students have known for years. Education is a very expensive process. A recent survey into student finances revealed that an average student spends approximately £45,000 during their college years and when they do finally graduate they are saddled with a student debt of almost £18,000. With the new fees it is expected that this sum will rise significantly to over £30,000, little wonder that students have been protesting these charges so vehemently.

There is some form of help however in the shape of several payments and student grants for college.

Perhaps the best known of these is the Governments Maintenance grant (also known as Special Support Grant) that two thirds of students are entitled to. The grant comes in the form of  a means tested payment awarded on a sliding scale. The total value is up to £3,000 but only one third of students receive this amount.

For all the information including eligibility criteria and an online application form visit direct.gov.uk and search for the term "Student Grants".

In addition to student grants for college, there are several other payments that can help students. For instance students who pay fees and receive a government grant are entitled to a bursary from their university. This payment can be worth up to £1,000 and application for this should be made to the university.

Finally every third level institution will have a an "Access to learning fund" that can give hardship grants to students that are experiencing financial problems but these funds run out very quickly so early applications are advised.


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