Illustrated by Abigail Phoenix

Tips on How To Afford A Masters Degree

It can be tricky figuring out how you're going to make a master's degree work financially, especially if you don't…

For Master’s degrees starting after August 2023, the maximum loan you’ll receive is £12,167 – and you have to pay your tuition fees with this too. It can be tricky figuring out how you’re going to make it work financially, especially if you don’t have any family who can help. In this article, I’ll run through some of the best ways to afford a master’s based on my experience over the last year.

Budget your tuition fees first

Getting behind in your tuition fees is something you absolutely don’t want to do – it’s a good idea to set up a payment plan with the university as soon as possible so that you’ll know exactly when your payments will go out. The typical way to pay is in three instalments, due just after you receive your loan from Student Finance. Once you know how much your instalments are, you can deduct them from the amount of Student Finance you’ll be getting so you know what you’re left with, from there you can work out rent and direct debts, although it’s unlikely it will cover everything.

Reduce your tuition fees

Some universities offer scholarships and a reduction in fees for people from specific backgrounds, so have a look around to see what you can get before you apply. I chose to study my master’s at the University of Lincoln as they offer a discount for returning students, and if you start your master’s in the next intake you’ll get 15% off your fees! This is a discount of £1,215 which you’ll get to keep from your loan.

Part time work

One of the ways I managed to afford my degree was by having part-time work, without which I couldn’t have afforded to keep studying. If you’re studying at Lincoln, I’d highly recommend looking for jobs through Campus Jobs as they’re all offered by the university and fit around your timetable. This has been great for me as I’ve not had to compromise my attendance to be able to work. You can work a maximum of 20 hours per week through Campus Jobs, and there are some benefits too such as access to the employee discount platform.

If you can’t find an on-campus job, consider looking for weekend and evening work to help you, or speak to the careers department and ask for advice for university-student-friendly employers.

Part-time degrees

If you need to work more to be able to afford your studies, you can do your degree part-time over two years. This will mean less time in university and more time to work, but you don’t get any more student finance, the same amount is split over two years according to the modules you’ll be taking.

There are many ways to make affording a master’s degree easier, for example, I continued to commute and live with my mum to save money on rent, but if you need further advice I’d recommend speaking to Student Support who can guide you through the process and help you understand your options.

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