Can I get financial support during my studies?
Once you are in the UK and have started your studies, there is very little financial help available for international students. If you are here with Tier 4 (General) Student immigration permission, you are expected to have enough money to cover your fees and living costs as you would have had to show this when you applied for your immigration permission. You are not entitled to apply for most public funds eg. welfare benefits in the UK.
If, having started your course, you are now worried that you don’t have enough money to complete it, or your funding has been temporarily stopped due to circumstances beyond your control, please read the information on this page. If you then have further questions, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.
Watch our short animation to find out how to deal with financial hardship and what help might be available to you.
How can I find out if I have enough money to last for the duration of my course?
It is essential to plan your funding in advance, for the whole of your course. However it is useful to plan a budget at any stage in your course. You need to work out a budget to compare your expected costs with your income, and check that you will have enough money for all of your tuition fees and living costs, or whether you will have a shortfall (less income than costs).
The Advice and Counselling Service has several resources you might find useful to help you plan your budget which you can find on our web page Budgeting for the cost of living in London. These include:
- an example budget spreadsheet for an international student we've called Xiang which you can adapt to suit your own circumstances
- information on the average costs of living in London including rent, food and travel, as well as lots of money saving tips
I have enough money now, but how can I make sure I don’t run out later?
If, after planning your budget using the above resources, you find that you actually have enough money, you will need to try and keep your spending within your budget to avoid getting into financial difficulties. Whether you are using a spreadsheet, a handwritten budget planner or a budgeting app, you can amend these at any time to reflect any unexpected expenses or changes to your income to help you plan for periods when you might have less money than you expected. Checking your budget regularly should also help you to spend your money more carefully, encourage you to cut costs where you can, and claim any discounts you are entitled to.
I have a shortfall in my funding, what can I do?
If you find that you do have a shortfall, you need to think realistically about whether there are any options for you to increase your income, and/or decrease your spending, so that you have enough money. Whether this is possible will depend on your individual circumstances such as how much of your course you have left to complete and the size of your shortfall.
Look at the options below, as you might find that with a little help you will be able to complete your studies.
If you find that you have a large shortfall that you cannot meet, you may need to consider interrupting your studies, returning to your home country and working to save enough money to enable you to resume your studies in the UK at a later date. Read the Advice and Counselling Service’s advice guide Resitting, Interrupting, or Leaving your course – a guide for international students, which explains how interrupting will affect your tuition fees, the administrative procedures involved as well as the immigration implications.
You can discuss your situation with a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service if you need more advice about interrupting your studies.
Can I increase my income through part-time work?
You need to check your immigration permission to see whether you are allowed to work in the UK and, if so, for how many hours a week (if you have immigration permission allowing you to work, you will have a strict weekly limit during term time for your course of either 10 or 20 hours a week).
The Advice and Counselling Service and QMUL Careers have written an advice guide Part time and vacation work which explains how to find work, about Income Tax, National Insurance, the minimum wage and the rules about working for international students.
If you need help finding part time work, QMUL Careers can advise you about your options including help with CV writing, application forms, covering letters, interview skills and job searches.
Can I apply for financial assistance from the University?
University Financial Assistance Fund
There is a University Financial Assistance Fund at QMUL you may be able to apply to. As an international student, you would need to show that you had secured enough money for your studies before you started your course, but for unforeseen reasons beyond your control that money (or some of that money) is no longer available, or you have incurred unexpected expenses, meaning that you now cannot afford to continue on your course. Financial assistance is mostly awarded to students who are in their final year of study, or if not, who can demonstrate how they will be able to afford the following year(s) without having to apply to the fund again. The fund is only for help with living costs; it cannot help with tuition fees. Any money you are awarded is normally paid as a grant so it doesn’t need to be repaid.
If you want to apply, it can be useful to discuss this with a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service as, although Welfare Advisers are not involved in the decision making process, they can provide helpful information about your case to the Bursaries Office to help explain your financial shorfall and why you are applying for hardship funding.
You can download an application form and guidance notes online. You can also collect an application form from the Advice and Counselling Service reception on the ground floor of the Geography Building on the Mile End campus.
If you are in sudden financial difficulty and you need to borrow a small amount of cash, you can apply for a discretionary emergency loan from QMUL. This is a small cash loan, which can often be paid to you on the same day that you apply. It is interest free. To apply, go to the Student Enquiry Centre, ground floor, Queens Building.
Short term loans from the Students’ Union
QMSU can offer a short-term loan of up to £100 to help students who have run into unexpected financial need due to a cash flow problem. For example, if you are waiting for your funding to come in and you need to make a payment. These loans are interest free. You must be able to demonstrate a realistic repayment schedule. There is more information online. To apply, you need to log in to the QMSU website and complete a short form to arrange an appointment with a member of staff in the SU to discuss your application.
Can I apply for the Dean’s Benevolence Fund?
If you are a medical or dental student, then you may apply to this fund. Awards from this fund are usually made as an interest-free loan. If you are awarded a loan, you would need to repay it in instalments, starting after your foundation training. As with the University Financial Assistance Fund, to apply you must show that you had secured adequate funds for your studies before you started the course, but for reasons unforeseen and beyond your control those funds (or some of those funds) are no longer available, or you have incurred unexpected expenses, meaning that you now cannot afford to complete the course.
You need to first apply to the University Financial Assistance Fund. If, after that, you still have a shortfall, and you are a medical or dental student, contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service for advice about applying to the Dean’s Benevolence Fund. You can download an application form and guidance online.
The QMUL Postgraduate Research Fund
The QMUL Postgraduate Research Fund provides small scale funding to help pay for research students expenses such as travel, conference attendance, conference organisation and other research costs. Students can apply for a maximum of £2,000 for fieldwork including international research networking, accessing training, facilities and equipment not available in the UK; a maximum of £1,000 for presenting at an international conference or meeting; accommodation costs to a maxiumum of £75 per night; subsistence costs of maximum £25 per 24 hour period as well as reasonable travel costs. You will need to show you have tried to find funding from other external sources before applying to the fund, even if those applications were unsuccessful. Applications are considered once a term. More details including how to apply and important deadlines are available online.
The QMUL Doctoral College Initiative Fund
This small scale fund is designed to support and promote creative and imaginative activities organised by postgraduate research students which will enhance their research experience, intellectual and/or professional development. The fund can cover expenses ranging from £100 to a maximum of £1,000 including accommodation costs to a maximum of £75 per night, subsistence costs of maximum £25 per 24 hour period and reasonable travel costs. The Doctoral College at QMUL anticipates supporting a wide range of activities or events ranging from, but not limited to, seminars, conferences, debates and specialist training activities. Detailed guidelines, deadlines, and an application form are available online.
The Queen Mary University of London Expeditions Fund
The Expeditions Fund offers financial assistance to undergraduate or postgraduate students for expeditions they may wish to undertake during the summer vacation. Awards made are normally for a minimum of £250 and are granted on a case by case basis. An expedition can be any kind of purposeful travel or outdoor pursuit, as an individual or in a group, in the UK or abroad. It can be connected to your academic or personal interests but should not be a compulsory part of your course, such as an elective. The closing date for receiving completed applications is normally in April. There is more information online, including reports from former recipients of the award detailing their expeditions.
Can Trusts and Charities help finance my studies?
In the current economic climate, trusts and charities are very short of funds, and many are not giving awards to students. Even if you did successfully apply, you would usually only be granted an award of a few hundred pounds. Even so, you may like to try. See our Trusts and Charities web page for information on how to apply, and for help on how to write your application letter.
Can I get a scholarship once I have started my course?
It is unlikely that any scholarship agency will grant you a scholarship once you have started your course in the UK, as these are oversubscribed and usually decided well before the start of the academic year. For more information on scholarships visit the QMUL Scholarships and funding webpage.