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    I'm due to start a course at the Royal College of Art doing a Masters in Critical Writing in Art and Design in late September but I do not have the funding covered for certain, because of some complications I have experienced this year. I was wondering if anyone could advise me on some alternative ways to get funding before it's too late?

    I currently work a full time job which I got last December and I applied for the RCA masters on a whim in January (I know, very late decision), not thinking I would actually get in. I have been unable to tell my work that I applied or have been accepted because they don't have an official notice period, so I can quit any moment, and they can fire me at any moment. Not to mention, I need to stay on as late as possible to raise as much money as possible to help fund the course-it's not hugely well paid under the circumstances.

    When I found out I got in, I followed the same protocol as my undergrad and assumed the postgrad loan would be able to help. However, this course is a 2 year masters so the £10,000 payment is spread out across the 2 years. This is where the complications start. Of course being the RCA, the course is £10,000 per year so I already began looking at charities which may be able to help, but the majority of them are to help students in their final year and applications open next January. My course also doesn't fall under traditional categories that charities fund, which has made the process of choosing which to approach difficult-I have still applied to a few which are not directly relevant. I was aware that I wouldn't be able to receive my postgrad loan until I have registered at my new course, but the RCA's policy is to not allow registration until the first half of tuition fees are paid which puts me in a catch 22.

    I was hoping my family would be able to help fund me, but a recent bereavement has revealed some family debt which has meant I have had to look at charities more seriously as an option because the numbers are now bigger. I contacted the RCA quite a few times trying to get information about any bursaries or financial help they offer in special circumstances but alongside 'you shouldn't accept the offer if you can't afford it' I only have been given the possibility of a member of the finance department potentially submitting a request to the Academic Registrar to ask for my payments to be changed into 3 so they align with the loan instalments. I will still have to pay to register.

    I have been abroad for about 3 weeks now attending to the family property the bereaved left behind and working (I work from home). I received a letter from student finance while I was away asking for my 'evidence', which is a valid proof of ID. My only valid proof of ID is my passport and I thought they would already have my ID information in the system from my undergrad loans. On top of this, I have to go abroad in early September with work so I can't risk sending my passport only for it to not return in time. I have called student finance about my difficulties and there is nothing they are able to do except wait for me to get back from my work trip and resume the application process then. I know I wouldn't get the first loan payment until after the registration date and even then it wouldn't be confirmed yet.

    I'm in the process of writing my resignation letter for my job (it's a marketing and PR role) understanding that they would not be able to give me a part time position during my course because they are such a small company and equally that they will need me at the tradeshow abroad in September for the same reason.


    What options do I have left?? I am going to call student finance again to ask for a rough estimate of how long the rest of the application would take if I sent my passport once I return from the work trip so that I can plan funding around these times.

    Please can responses be constructive and not a series of 'you should haves'.

    Thank you!

    *UPDATE* I have spoken to student finance and they have confirmed that I can still send my passport once I have returned from my work trip and I should still get the loan in on time! I would still really appreciate suggestions for alternative forms of funding if anyone has other suggestions.
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    You'll have to look for funding from various sources, talk to the uni and see if they can help or see if you can defer till you have enough funds.
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    Is there an option to defer starting? One of the problems is the rush of things happening including your family's loss and you realising that the funding isn't as straightforward. You could be in a far stronger postion to start the year after, and it would even give you time to build up some more money from ongoing employment.

    You really don't want to be in a position where you are starting a course and hoping for possible funding without having anything solid you can rely on. It will make your studies far more stressful than they need to be.
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    You can get private funding from companies. They're called top up loans. They're usually for people who don't get enough student finance to live on so they get another loan and have to pay it back over x amount of years but the years in studying is a smaller amount to pay back. If you really wanna do it then I'd look into this.

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    (Original post by cpaige21)
    You can get private funding from companies. They're called top up loans. They're usually for people who don't get enough student finance to live on so they get another loan and have to pay it back over x amount of years but the years in studying is a smaller amount to pay back. If you really wanna do it then I'd look into this.

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    Thanks for answering! Do you think there would be companies interested in funding an arts masters? I have only really ever heard of them in relation to more vocational courses. Will definitely look into this!
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    (Original post by alleycat393)
    You'll have to look for funding from various sources, talk to the uni and see if they can help or see if you can defer till you have enough funds.
    Thanks for responding The only reason I haven't mentioned deferring is because I am worried about going back into education even now after a year working since graduating. Waiting another year could make it worse, but yes deferring is something I am having to consider if no other funding opportunities come up...
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    (Original post by plars)
    Thanks for answering! Do you think there would be companies interested in funding an arts masters? I have only really ever heard of them in relation to more vocational courses. Will definitely look into this!
    Unsure. Google private student loans and it should bring some up!

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