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Trusts and Charities funding

Trusts and Charities funding

Is there any financial help I can get from trusts and charities?

Many trusts and charities have very limited funds and some are not able to make any awards to students at all. Some trusts and charities can give you an idea of the amount of money they tend to award to successful applicants: you can usually read about this in their online information or contact them directly to find out by email or phone. If the amounts they offer are quite low, and if they offer very few awards each year, make sure you have considered all other available options before applying. If you genuinely have no other options, you might wish to try applying to trusts and charities as a top up to your main funding.

How can I find trusts and charities to apply to?


Turn2us, a charitable service, has a database of trusts and charities which may provide financial assistance to students. Although there is an online search facility, it is usually better to ring their helpline on 0808 802 2000 and speak to an adviser. Lines are open Mon-Fri 9am to 5:30pm. This is because the adviser you speak to can advise you about organisations which would not appear using an online search and which could potentially help you based on your individual circumstances.

BMA Charities Trust Fund

This fund offers a limited number of awards to second degree medical students who are not eligible for a tuition fee loan or maintenance grant because they already have a degree and who do not have access to the NHS Bursary Scheme or similar funding from a statutory body. The fund also offers help to medical students in financial hardship. For more information and to check your eligibility email:

The Dain Fund

The Dain Fund helps with the education costs of the children of medical doctors. It assists families in financial difficulties following crises such as unemployment, family breakdown or serious illness of a parent. For more information please email with details of your situation. Applications are welcomed throughout the year.

Royal Medical Benevolent Fund

The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF), the UK's leading charity for doctors, medical students and their families, offers grants to help medical students facing unexpected and exceptional financial hardship. These are offered to students in the last 2 years of their course.

To apply to the fund, you must have exhausted all other sources of funding including the University Financial Assistance Fund and the Dean’s Benevolence Fund (see the Money for Queen Mary section of this guide), and you must also meet other eligibility criteria. If you are interested in applying, you need to email the RMBF casework department or call on 020 8540 9194 (option 1) to discuss whether you may be eligible for help. You can also contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

The BDA Benevolent Fund

The BDA Benevolent Fund is a charity supporting all dental students, dentists and their families in financial need. They offer financial assistance for dental students, dentists and their dependents in need who have practiced in the UK. 

The charity is independent of the British Dental Association and you do not need to be a member of the BDA to apply. All applications are confidential.

Local Authorities

You could also look on your Local Authority website to see if there are any educational charities for students living in your local area.

When should I apply? 

Many trustees meet only once or twice a year to assess applications, so it is important that you apply before the relevant deadlines. Some trusts may agree to offer funding at the start of your course and then a small top up in each subsequent year of your course. It is usually a good idea to apply well in advance of the first year you need funding for and by any stated deadline to ensure your application stands the best chance of being considered. Other trusts may offer one-off help to students who find themselves in financial hardship once their course has started, particularly if you are near the end of your course. These trusts may also have deadlines which you would need to check before applying. 

How do I apply? 

You will need to carefully research the criteria of trusts and charities and then make separate applications to each relevant trust or charity, explaining your situation and how you meet their criteria. You may need to complete an application form, which the trust can send you or which you can download from their website. If there is no application form, you will need to write a letter to the trustees who will decide your application. It is advisable to write a letter even if you have completed an application form as a letter enables you to explain your situation more fully, which maximises your chances of success. Once you have written your letter, you can contact a Welfare Adviser if you would like your letter checked. The Welfare Adviser may also be able to write a letter to go with yours, if that is required. However, if evidence of your academic ability is required, you would need to request this from your personal adviser, tutor or student support officer in your academic school. However, you can still contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service to get feedback on your application and supporting evidence. 

In your letter, explain the following clearly:

How you meet the eligibility criteria

If the trust only helps people in a certain age group, or who live in a particular area, state clearly at the beginning of your letter your age, or the area where you live. If it is not clear to the trustees that you are eligible to apply, they might reject your application.

About your studies

Explain what course you are studying and where, which academic year you are in and when you expect to complete the course.

Trusts and charities usually have very limited funds, and they want to be sure that any money they give you will enable you to complete your course. For this reason many trusts are more likely to help final year students, so if this is the case, emphasise this strongly. If you are not in your final year, try to explain how you plan to fund any future years of your course, so that the trustees can see that you will still be able to complete your course.

It can also be helpful to explain why you are studying this course, for example, what career you hope to do after graduation. This helps to demonstrate how serious you are about the course and how important it is for you to complete it, which can make your application more compelling.

Why you are in financial need

The trustees need to understand your financial situation and why you are asking for financial support. If you have a main source of funding but it is not quite enough to cover all of your costs, explain this. If your main source of funding has been temporarily disrupted or it has ended, explain this. If you have exceptional circumstances, such as long term illness or disability, or childcare responsibilities, explain this. Make it clear whether your financial difficulties are a one-off problem, affecting you only in the current academic year, or if they will continue throughout your course.

How much money you need

You need to present a clear budget listing all of your income and essential expenditure, so that the trustees can see your shortfall (how much money you need). If you are applying part way through an academic year, you will just need to show how much money you need to complete the academic year. You can use the budget planner spreadsheet which you can download from the budgeting pages of the website and the Advice and Counselling Service Advice Guide. If you need further help with this, contact a Welfare Adviser.

Where else you are applying

Explain how many other trusts and charities you are applying to, so that the trustees understand that you are not expecting them to give you enough money to cover your entire shortfall. If you have already been granted money from another trust or charity, or from the University, make this clear, and if possible include evidence, such as the award letter.

Raising funds from the general public (crowdfunding)

What is crowdfunding?

This is a way of gathering relatively small amounts of money from individual members of the public (via a crowdfunding website), which when combined might raise the total amount of funds to pay for a project. However, given that undergraduate study normally attracts funding like Student Finance or an NHS Bursary, it is likely to be difficult to obtain funding towards the cost of a degree programme.

How does crowdfunding work?

Crowdfunding websites usually allow you to set a funding target, post a video outlining your studies and explaining why you are asking people to fund you, and allow members of the public to pledge funds online. You normally have to pay a fee to use these websites and you should check the terms and conditions carefully before you sign up. Some schemes state that if you don’t reach your funding target in a certain time frame, the funds already pledged will be returned to the people who made them, although other schemes can offer more flexibility.

Where can I find crowdfunding organisations?

You can usually find a number of these organisations by searching the internet, although be aware that the majority of crowdfunding websites are not aimed at helping people to raise funds for studies – more commonly they are aimed at helping entrepreneurs who are starting a business - but you may be able to find some if you search carefully.

When planning your funding campaign, think carefully about what is unique about you and what you plan to achieve during and after your studies. Potential funders are more likely to offer you funds if they believe in you and share your ambitions for how your studies will be of value to you and the wider community.

Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

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