Meet the students crowdfunding their degrees
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It will hardly come as a surprise that UK students who have incurred around £40,000 in debt over the course of their three year bachelor degree are unwilling to rack up more debt for a Masters - irrespective of how significant a second degree will be for their career or personal development. In order to address this problem, various websites offering advice on how to fund postgraduate study are now suggesting crowdfunding - particularly as it will not be possible to take out a student loan for Masters courses until 2016. Keen to avoid hefty Professional Career and Development Loans following tuition fee increases, many UK students now follow this advice. Last year The National Student interviewed Emily-Rose Eastop (pictured), who crowdfunded £26.5k in fees, accommodation, and living costs for her MSc at Wadham College, Oxford. We also spoke to Genevieve Richardson, who earlier this year raised £13.9k for her MPhil in Development Studies at Oxford after failing to qualify for scholarships and bursaries that would have facilitated her entry into further study. Spurred on by stories like theirs, more and more students are following in their footsteps, relying on the kindness of others for support. Crowdfunding alone rarely raises enough money to fully cover the costs of a degree, and most fundraisers don’t expect it to. Genevieve plans to work two part-time jobs alongside study, as a private tutor and as an events promoter, which will cover maintenance costs. Students also tend to apply for scholarships and bursaries before turning to crowdfunding, many of them using crowdfunding platforms as a top-up after receiving a partial scholarship. Florence Brady graduated the University of Oxford this year, and now has a place on the MA in Ensemble Theatre at Rose Bruford drama school. As well as taking out a loan, applying for additional grants, working full-time over the summer, working alongside study, and gaining a £1,500 scholarship from the Valerie Clark Memorial Trust, she is crowd-funding £1500 towards her £9,900 tuition. Keziah Conroy graduated UCL in the top 5% of her year, and won the departmental prize for the best dissertation. She won a £2,000 scholarship towards her MRes in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation, but is now crowd-funding her tuition fees having missed out on other, bigger scholarships. “With course fees being £13,285 and my rent in a modest, east London flat-share at about £7,000 a year, I knew I wouldn't be able survive, even with a well-paid full-time job on top of this full-time course.”
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