Qualifications in Computer Science, Web Development and Web Design boast some of the highest employment rates and starting salaries in the country. Surrey University states that, ‘First-class computer science graduates also achieve an average salary of £35,000 and are are highly sought after within the UK and overseas.’ According to the Labour Force Survey in 2017, 90% of graduates with an undergraduate degree or similar qualification in Computer Science were in employment.
With figures like that, it’s not surprising that more and more people are training in IT. If it’s the course fees that are putting you off, we’ve found a bunch of grants and schemes that could help start you off on a brand new career.
There are a few specific student funds you can use in order to pay your course fees. Even if you think you’re unlikely to be eligible, it’s always best to cross these off your list before looking for grants or self-funding.
People studying on an eligible course, who do not have an undergraduate degree can receive the entirety of their tuition fees through a tuition loan from Student Finance. You need to be a UK resident, but there is no age limit on accessing these loans. You can also get a loan through Student Finance for postgraduate study. Repayments on this loan are income based, and you don’t have to start repaying until you earn over £25,725 a year.
If you have previously taken out a tuition fees loan with Student Finance, but didn’t finish that course, you may still be eligible for the tuition fees loan for your next course. Student Finance will offer a tuition fee loan for the length of your course, plus an extra year, and then deduct the years you had a loan for previous courses.
Advanced Learner Loan
An Advanced Learner Loan works in much the same was as a Tuition Fee Loan. If you’re aged 19 or older, and you’re studying for a Level 3, 4, 5 or 6, you can get an Advanced Learner Loan to pay for your course fees. You can apply for up to four of these loans (you can even apply for them at the same time if you’re taking a number of courses). There are no credit checks and the loan is not income based.
The Advanced Learner Loan is also from Student Finance, and so you don’t have to start repaying the loan until you earn over £25,725. Just like the Tuition Fee Loans, the amount you pay back will be proportional to what you earn. If you still aren’t sure whether you’ll be eligible, there’s an eligibility checker here.
Funding through grants
If you’ve ruled out funding through student finance, or you need a little bit more to top up your fees, here are a few grants that you could be eligible for. We’d recommend the website ‘Turn2Us’ for grant searches, as well as specific web searches for grants available to people with your work history, or even your parents. Here are some specific grants to get you started.
Grants for individuals who can establish, ‘a personal or family link with commerce'. To qualify, the applicant’s parents or grandparents must have worked in or owned a commercial business.’ These grants tend to be between £1000 and £3000.
These grants are up to the value of £1000, and are for individuals aged 35 or younger that are pursuing their first degree, but are in their second or third year. According to the website, the aim of the foundation is, ‘"To assist persons to obtain education in its widest sense, other than primary, when the expenses thereof would without such assistance be beyond their means"
The Scarr Hall Memorial Trust issue grants to individuals who are in education or training, and these can be used for course fees. Unlike some other charities you have to contact them by post.
The Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust issues grants to individuals up to £3000. Applicants must be a resident of the United Kingdom, studying for a full-time undergraduate degree at a recognised UK university; the child, spouse, widow or widower of a commercial traveller, pharmacist or grocer; and in ‘financial need’.’
According to their website, ‘The Foundation exists to overcome social injustice by providing financial bursaries, mentoring and support to disadvantaged students from the further and adult education sectors, enabling them to complete their studies in higher education and move on successfully into employment or further studies.’ You must be able to demonstrate that you are experiencing barriers to continuing education and demonstrate that you face severe financial hardship.
The Ruby and Will George Trust make grants that are for ‘the enhancement of education. Every application that is granted must have a link to commerce.’ Ideally you should have worked in retail, or have a parent or grandparent that worked in retail.
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