For many young people, the thought of uprooting to study internationally is a daunting, seemingly unrealistic prospect. But you may be surprised to learn that foreign universities aren’t as inaccessible as you may think, and there is help available to make the transition a little easier for anyone considering studying abroad.
There are so many benefits on offer to international students, from being able to expand your skill set, to having the chance to integrate with different cultures. However there’s no denying that going to university is an expensive venture as it is, let alone having to factor in living abroad, too. And whilst many people let this financial barrier stand in the way of their education, governments and institutions are finding ways to help make university study, at home or internationally, more accessible to everyone. In this blog, we will run through some of the ways you can get financial support when studying.
Apply for a travel grant
The most accessible financial support for studying abroad is the government’s travel grant. To be eligible, you must attend an overseas institution for at least half of each academic term. The amount it pays out depends on your total household income, which is calculated based on your income (if you have one) combined with your parents/guardians or spouse/partner's income – whoever you live with.
You pay the first £303 of your travel costs, and your travel grant will be reduced by £1 for each £8.73 of household income over £39,796. Don’t worry if this sounds confusing – once you fill in the form that Student Finance England sends you, the amount you can apply for will be worked out automatically.
You can use this money to refund any expenses that you've had to pay when travelling abroad. It can be used for up to three return journeys between your home and the overseas university as well as for help with essential expenses, medical insurance and travel visas. Crucially, it’s a grant, not a loan, so it doesn’t have to be repaid.
The Turing Scheme
Another way to fund your placement abroad could be by attending a university that is a recipient of the Turing Scheme grant. This is a scheme that universities have to apply for, which then gives them money to fund international programmes for students. You can research whether a university you are interested in is part of the Turing Scheme.
The amount that you will receive through the scheme depends on the type of placement you are completing and which country you are going to. However, it aims to encourage disadvantaged students the most, so they are more likely to get a higher grant. This can go towards essential travel costs and other necessities.
Most universities have bursaries, scholarships and grants in place to support students who wish to complete a placement or study abroad. Talk to your academic department or university’s study abroad department and ask them about what support they have in place. Often, there is support for those with lower household incomes, which may be competitive or automatic depending on the institution, so make sure to ask for information early on, so that you can work out if this can help you.
Apply for a BUTEX scholarship
The BUTEX scholarship is worth £500 and is awarded to students who have been offered, are currently undertaking or have already completed a study abroad programme with a university that is affiliated with the scheme. Not everyone who applies will receive the scholarship, so you need to have a compelling reason to want to study abroad and why the money will help.
There are other options available to all students that you may be eligible for, whether you choose to study abroad or not. Research financial support to find out what you may be able to access to support your studies abroad.
No matter your background, every prospective student will face several barriers to international study. But being aware of these options and the help that is available will enable you to make a more informed decision, and take control of your educational future.
Joanne Owens has been primarily working with university students and mentoring individuals in their interactions with young children, including parents and teachers. She is particularly interested in open-ended, independent learning, resolving disputes and addressing issues with young adults, and comprehending various learning styles. Since she has kept a journal for most of her life, Joanne has developed a love for writing. She’s been working with the Six Degree Media team to support academic projects that help people reach their full potential. She strives to promote the belief that all students should have access to a high-quality education.
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