- Category: Academic Life
- Published on Tuesday, 12 August 2008 15:13
With both tuition fees and living costs to account for, postgrads need all the help they can get when trying to lighten the load of their expenses. Luckily, there are many different ways in which you can acquire financial support and it is well worth your while pursuing as many of these avenues as soon as possible since all levels of funding are highly sought after. But be aware - besides local authority financial assistance, most postgraduate funding is awarded on a competitive basis so be prepared to promote your case. The more organised and persistent you are in your quest to gain funding, the better placed you are to actually obtaining it.
Depending on your financial situation, you may be entitled to a maintenance grant. Make sure you check this out because the funding is there for all those who are eligible. Postgrads qualify for the local authority postgraduate grant in the same way as undergrads. If you received a grant at undergrad level it may be extended to cover doing a postgrad.
However, you do have to be a full-time postgrad student enrolling in a (minimum) one-year course in a publically funded college in Ireland or Northern Ireland, which includes Mary I. The value of grants ranges from €330 to €6,355 (2010/11 figures) and depends on your guardian’s income, how many dependents they have, and whether you live ‘adjacent’ (within 45kms) to the college. Visit www.studentfinance.ie for further information on what level of funding you would be entitled to. If you are over the age of 23 you can apply to be means-tested independently of your parents provided you are no longer living in the family home.
You should apply to your local county council or VEC, depending on which body provided your undergrad grant. Grant applications must be made on the official application form or online and are usually required to be completed and returned by the end of August before the start of the academic year.
If you qualify for a maintenance grant, the providing body may also pay some or all of your course tuition fees. The maximum amount that can be paid out for tuition fees in this scenario is currently €6,270.
Assistantships and Awards for Research Postgrads in MIC
Mary I also offer various assistantships and awards to research postgrads. These include a Doctoral Award (PhD in Arts or Education), Studentships, Assistantships, and Special Awards. Students pursuing research postgraduate degrees in Arts or Education are eligible to apply for MIC awards. These are available on a competitive basis and at the discretion of the College. Typically, awards provide a subsistence bursary for the normal registration period of benefiting students, and in some cases also off-set tuition fees. The Postgrad Office assists postgrad students in making application for additional resources, such as Government of Ireland Scholarships. Contact Helen on 061-204556 for more details.
What’s on offer outside Mary I?
Apart from the grant and what MIC has to offer, there are other options worth checking out. The Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) provides funding for postgraduate research within the field of the Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Law.
The Royal Irish Academy (RIA) awards 60 research grants each year in both the Humanities and the Natural Sciences. These are made through a network of awards, including Archaeological Research grants and international exchanges, as well as smaller schemes for fieldwork in the natural history of Ireland, scientific and historical essays and travel bursaries. Visit www.ria.ie for further details.
Some postgrad students are lucky enough to be sponsored by a current or future employer. If you present your case in terms of what your course/research will bring to the company and how much your work performance will benefit from a postgraduate course, they may find your request for sponsorship simply too hard to refuse!
Sometimes the only option left for a postgraduate student is to apply for a loan. It pays to shop around as many financial institutions offer reduced student rates (credit unions in particular visit www.creditunion.ie).
Tax relief is sometimes available for fees of part and full time courses where an applicant has been working and paying income tax. Contact your local tax office or visit www.revenue.ie for further info.
Full time postgraduate students can sometimes afford to work part time, depending on the course subject and flexibility. It’s worth checking if any departments will take you in to act as a teaching assistant or tutor. It’d bring a few bob anyway!