Worried whether you can afford to become a professional? Don’t know where to look for funding help and guidance?

There is plenty of information out there about getting financial assistance for full-time, part-time and vocational courses. In this section we provide links to those sources that we believe to be most useful. Also check out the links we provide in Resources and Related Links on the right side of this page.

You may also find some useful sources if you look at our sector-specific advice for funding.

Here you will find general information as well as information on:

General information


Tuition fees for courses vary across all institutions depending on the subject, faculty, method and length of study as well as many other factors. The average annual tuition fee for a full time postgraduate taught course is approximately £6,000. Research based courses' fees vary even more widely but more funding tends to be available too, depending on the sector.

Other costs and expenses: maintenance costs

As well as paying tuition fees for the duration of the course, you also have to consider how much it will cost you to support yourself whilst studying. These costs are not always supported by the funding you may receive. The availability of maintenance grants often depend on your family or personal circumstances. 

Funding sources fall into the following categories:

  • Universities
  • Government organisations
  • Commercial and private course providers
  • Other organisations

Types of funding

Check out this page from gov.uk on funding for postgraduate study - student loans are not available in the same way as they are for undergraduate study however other options are available including Professional and Career Development Loans.

  • Non-repayable
  • The amount you get usually depends on your personal circumstances
  • Extra sources of funding paid in addition to loans or grants

Ask the education department of your local authority or the university you’re applying to about available bursaries. Bursaries are also available for specific professions:

Sponsorships, scholarships and studentships:

These are also non-repayable schemes that some government departments or industrial organisations may offer for further study. Contact the company or organisation that you’re interested in about possible funding, and also have a look at these websites:

Charitable trusts:

The Educational Grants Search service can help to locate funding sources from charitable trusts.

The following publications may be found in larger public libraries:

  • Directory of Grant Making Trusts published by the Charities Aid Foundation
  • Grants Register published by Palgrave McMillan

Other means of funding to consider:
  • Employer support
  • Family support
  • Trade union support
  • Interest-free overdrafts from banks and graduate studies loans: check all high street banks for the best student accounts
  • University discretionary funds (e.g. hardship funds): check with the student finance staff at your chosen or current university for more details

Country-specific financial support

If you're a student from an EU country, you can apply for financial help towards the costs of studying in England, Northern Ireland or Wales. Help may also be available if you’re a migrant worker from an EEA (European Economic Area) country or Switzerland, or if you’re the child of a Turkish worker in the UK. The definition of a migrant worker is someone who is not a national of the country they're working in. A guide to funding and fees for international students can be found on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

Funding sources

As well as going to the websites recommended above to begin your hunt for funding sources, go to those of the universities you are interested in studying at, and to our funding section under Resources for university students.

Here are some other ideas:

  • A Professional and Career Development Loan could help you pay for learning that enhances your job skills or career prospects. It’s a bank loan, so you’ll have to pay it back once you’ve left your course. A wide range of courses are covered, lasting up to two years (or three years, if the course includes a year of work experience). However, you don’t pay interest for the period when you’re in learning. There are certain conditions that apply for which you can’t use this loan but other types of financial aid may be more suitable for your circumstances. 

  • A number of small charities may offer grants for one-off purposes to young people or to those who fall into their selection category. The Skinners Company in London manage such charities as the Lawrence Atwell Charity which aims to help young people free themselves from poverty and disadvantage by heading into the job they want. Grants can be used for vocational training (below first degree level, say, at NVQ3 level), basic qualifications (e.g. NVQ 1 and 2) and the cost of finding work. Search for other charities that may be able to help you with the Educational Grants Search service.

  • Some employers sponsor students and offer other kinds of support. They may pay fees for people in their employment to undertake part-time postgraduate study, and they may offer support through work placements for undergraduate students who are part way through their courses. For people who are in employment and hoping to undertake a course, it is certainly worth asking the employer about sponsorship.