When you want to fit a career-enhancing qualification flexibly into a busy lifestyle with work and family duties, distance learning is an excellent choice.
But with financial commitments to consider, you’ll have to find manageable ways to pay for your course, which mean that you can concentrate on a rich learning experience while minimising money worries.
Luckily, there are a range of loans, grants, sponsorship, scholarship and payment plan options available for UK, EU and international students studying at various levels – and they make distance learning as accessible and inclusive as possible.
Funding for undergraduate students
If you’re a UK/EU student living in England while taking a distance learning undergraduate course like a BA or BSc Hons, Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) or Foundation Degree (FdA or FdSc), your course fees can be covered by a government loan.
The first step is to apply for your course, then get in touch with Student Finance England to secure your student loan.
However, if you’re a UK/EU student living in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, the application process is different – so contact your local authority and they’ll provide guidance.
Funding for Postgraduate students
Funding is also available for Postgraduate students taking MBAs and MSc courses in subjects as diverse as Project Management and Applied Linguistics.
Provided you’re a UK or EU national living in England and it’s your first time studying at Postgraduate level, you can access a government loan of up to £10,000. One condition is that this loan doesn’t apply if you’re taking an intermediate course like a PG Cert, but as long as you’re undertaking a full Master’s, you’re covered.
Browsing the government guidance on Master’s loans is one of the easiest ways to check your eligibility.
If you’re already working in the UK and your employer recognises that a formal qualification can help you contribute to your organisation and advance your career, they might agree to fund it through a scheme like ARU’s Degrees at Work programme.
This type of work-based course protects your earning and saving power, because you can continue to draw a full-time salary without the additional expenditure of paying for your own education.
Funding for international students
If you’re based outside the UK and EU, your course fees will be different – but there are still several funding options which are worth looking into.
Firstly, the UK university you’re applying to might offer a scholarship to promising international students who can evidence excellent achievements in academic and extra-curricular areas. Either check the relevant scholarships and bursaries page on the university website or contact their international student support staff for guidance on whether this type of financial support is on offer.
Alternatively, each year the UK government and several charity and private entities offer a suite of scholarships to students from the Commonwealth and other global territories. Some of this funding applies to students from specific nations, while other schemes are open to all.
There’s no guarantee that you’re eligible for this type of funding or that it’s suitable for the distance learning course you’ve chosen, but it’s certainly worth investigating. Read the British Council guidance on international scholarships for more information.
Paying for course fees at the start of an academic year might not be the most convenient option for you – especially when you might have other financial commitments that must be taken care of.
So universities like Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning allow students to pay interest-free instalments for all courses, which mean you’ll make payment in three or six instalments and spread the cost of your education more evenly.
Final thoughts on funding your distance learning course
As you would expect, students applying for distance learning courses have varying financial commitments.
But because ARU are keen to make them accessible to students around the world who have different personal circumstances, they’re keen to provide as many funding options as possible.
So wherever you’re based and whatever your commitments, if you’ve found the right distance learning course to enhance your career, there are many funding options to help you fulfil your aspirations.
For more distance learning information, browse these blogs: