A selection of places to get it and what the pros and cons are
likely to be for each.
Many local authorities offer bursaries in return for a commitment
from the student to start their career with the council. Generally,
they offer a £3,000 grant for final-year students. In return,
students are expected to work for at least two years with that
council. Your college or university will know which councils run
Recruitment agency Reed Social Care also offers bursaries of
£3,000 to students studying for a social work degree. Students
are asked to work for the agency for a year after they qualify and
can work there at weekends and holidays while they are
Pros: You’ve got a job lined up when you qualify.
Cons: You may not want to be tied to a particular employer or
location or type of work for a specific period.
Department of Health bursaries are distributed by the General
Social Care Council (GSCC) and its counterparts in Scotland, Wales
and Northern Ireland.
The GSCC social work bursary does not take into account any income,
savings or benefits, and includes a basic grant of up to
£2,900, an initial practice learning opportunity allowance and
the balance of tuition fees not paid by your local education
authority. For students starting courses this winter there is still
time to apply for a bursary before the 19 November closing
Slightly different rules apply in the rest of the UK. For example,
the Scottish Social Services Council gives bursaries to
postgraduates only. Undergraduates take out a student loan
-Êbut remember, there are no tuition fees in Scotland.
– More information from www.gscc.org.uk/bursaries.htm
which gives links to the Scottish Social Services Council, the Care
Council for Wales and the Northern Ireland Social Care
Pros: Easy money if you are eligible.
Cons: You are not eligible for a bursary if you already hold a
Diploma of Social Work or equivalent social work qualification; if
you are studying through the Open University; or if your social
care employer is providing support, part of your fees, a practice
learning opportunity or paid time off to study.
3 Student loan
The maximum loan for 2004-5 is just over £4,000 for students
living away from home and £3,240 for those at home. Eligible
students receive 75 per cent of the maximum loan regardless of any
income; the remainder depends on your and your family’s income and
is assessed by your local education authority. Loans are repayable
once you finish the course and start earning more than
There is a hardship loan for those struggling to make ends meet.
You need to have applied for the full student loan you are entitled
to and have received the first instalment before seeking this. Your
college assesses your circumstances and decides whether to offer
you a one-off additional sum of between £100 and £500.
Contact your student loans officer at your college or
Those in even more dire straits can apply to their college’s access
funds. This is a discretionary loan given to students in serious
Pros: Nobody checks what you spend it on, so you could opt for a
couple of weeks in the Maldives or a sports car.
Cons: You could still be paying off your loans when you’re
Some students are entitled to benefits, such as single parents and
disabled students. For the latter, benefits contribute towards the
extra costs students may incur because of their disability.
Individuals can apply for a disabled students allowance from the
GSCC if they receive a GSCC bursary, currently have a disability or
develop a disability while on an approved postgraduate course.
Other benefits include the parents’ learning allowance, child tax
credit, a child care grant and adult dependents’ grant.
– More information from www.dfes.gov.uk/studentsupport
Pros: Every little helps.
Cons: First year DipSW students with children who last year
qualified for both a dependents allowance and child tax credit no
longer have this entitlement.
5 Economic and Social Research Council
The council offers funding awards to full and part-time
postgraduate students who have not previously completed a programme
of substantive research. Students are funded for a one-year
research Master’s (two years part time) and then for a further
three years for a PhD (five years part time).
– More information from www.esrc.ac.uk
Pros: Good option for those wishing to put off getting a job.
Cons: Only for the academically-oriented.
Students are renowned for being skint, wearing second-hand clothes
and saving vital pennies on food and soap. And, to be fair, finding
funding for any sort of academic endeavour or training can be a
minefield, particularly if you have a family to support or need to
relocate to undertake further training.
But our survey of 300 social work students suggests that they’re
made of sterner stuff than your average floppy-haired layabout: 65
per cent said they would support themselves through their course by
working and 33 per cent have savings. Nearly three-quarters will
receive a bursary, too, but despite this, more than half of
respondents will take out a loan while studying. Just 9 per cent
are receiving financial support from an employer while they
Extra financial help also came from other quarters: 28 per cent got
financial assistance from their parents, 31 per cent were
bankrolled by partners and 5 per cent kept in beer tokens by
sympathetic friends. Nearly one in five had extra cash from
Seven out of 10 students said it was easy to find information about
the financial support available to them during their studies. Yet
despite the range of income sources and the availability of
information, the issue of debt is a serious concern. Many of those
surveyed were anticipating a big financial headache. Four out of 10
anticipated a debt of up to £10,000, 35 per cent anticipated
£10,000 to £20,000, and a very unhappy 2 per cent were
expecting to owe £30,000 or more by the end of the course.
Conversely, 16 per cent obviously planned to live frugally and
spend wisely as they fully expected to emerge from college with no
Fortunately, most of the students surveyed have realistic
expectations of their earning potential a year after completing
their course – more than half expect to be earning between
£20,000 and £24,999 a year.
If all else fails
1. Open a current account and collect the accompanying freebies.
Banks are so keen to cash in on students that they’re giving away
gifts galore as incentives.
2. If you’re lucky enough to still have them, you could always
squeeze your parents for money. Make a start by reversing charges
for those important calls home and dropping heavy hints about your
3. Share a bath. As well as saving on the water bills and the
environment – after all, billions of litres of water are wasted
each year – you’ll make friends (possibly good ones).
4. Find your nearest “all you can eat for £3.50 buffet” and
attempt to wolf down enough in one sitting to provide enough
calories to last the week. Alternatively, make sure you know what
time of day your local supermarket starts pricing down its fresh
foods and hot foot it, Supermarket Sweep-style.
5. You could sign up to be used as a guinea pig for scientific
research as a cash-challenged Joey from Friends did in one episode
– he hired a lookalike actor to pose as his twin so he could
qualify for medical experimentation.
6. For the more studious among you, sell your (legible) student
notes. For the less scrupulous, offer to write a few of your peers’
essays for a fee.
7. Buy your clothes at Oxfam – almost obligatory in its retro
trendiness, as well as cheap.
8. Become a dog walker. As well as earning some extra dosh and
getting some exercise, it’s a good way to meet people -Êjust
remember the pooper scooper.
9. Fancy a flutter? Buy a lottery ticket or go to the
10. Relive your musical youth and busk. Beware if you’re in
London -you need a licence.
11. Only for the gloriously long-locked – sell your hair.
Extensions are all the rage.
12. Forget sperm or egg donation – it’s illegal in the UK to be
paid for your contribution.