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Masters degrees and benefits

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Sophli
Sophli Community member Posts: 9 Listener
Hello!
I’m looking for info on masters students and funding/ benefits as all I can find is BA/ HE focused.
I’m applying for MA Art Psychotherapy. I will apply for a student loan, but because the course is a year longer (both part time and full time) than other MA courses the loan won’t cover all of the fees (that’s by the by- I will hopefully save/ beg borrow etc)… and so nothing will be left for living costs.
The course does not attract a grant or any additional funding as not NHS/ teaching etc…
I currently work but it’s unlikely I will be able to keep my job and study. My earnings are around £17k but will drop or be zero.
I have no dependants but am listed as a carer for my husband who is disabled but works. His earnings are about £27k I think? A few years ago I was eligible for, and claimed carers allowance when I was out of work. I didn’t apply for UC as I was too frightened (thanks autism).
I receive standard rate living allowance PIP. I have multiple chronic illnesses and am autistic. (Would’ve fought the pip but the process caused severe mental distress).
I’m completely unfamiliar with universal credit or ESA but would consider applying if I’m eligible.
I am undecided as to apply full or part time… or at all if it’s not going to pan out.
Does anyone have any advice or information? 
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Comments

  • Hannah_Alumni
    Hannah_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,912 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 2023
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    Hi @Sophli

    This unfortunately is not my area of expertise, but I am going to pop your post over to our Benefits and Financial Support section so those users with that benefit knowledge may be able to help :) 
    Hannah - She / Her

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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  • Sophli
    Sophli Community member Posts: 9 Listener
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    Thank you Hannah. Yes, ESA eligibility... 
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 2023
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    If you have a complete NI record for tax years 2020-21 and 2021-22 you can apply for and receive new style ESA even if studying.

    You cannot receive Carers Allowance when a full time student.

    Whether there is any entitlement to UC depends on your household finances. You can use a benefits calculator to assess entitlement https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk

    Any student loan is taken into account when calculating UC as unearned income (and even of you don't apply for a loan you will be treated as receiving any loan that is available to you). 

    Under Uc your husband could claim the caterer element for looking after you.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Sophli
    Sophli Community member Posts: 9 Listener
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    Thank you. The loan doesn’t cover all of my fees so I’d like to know who to speak to to confirm whether they’d still take some. It’s a pittance compared to the BA student loan.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 56,060 Disability Gamechanger
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    Only maintenance loans are taken into consideration for mean tested benefits like UC, regardless of how much it is.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • Sophli
    Sophli Community member Posts: 9 Listener
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    Good, because I won’t receive one of those. They’re not offered at level 7. Thanks for the insight 😊 
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,983 Disability Gamechanger
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    @Sophli I would encourage you to contact the university/universities you are interested in applying for. Whilst your course may not attract any specific additional funding, sometimes the university/universities have internal funding they can provide you with regardless of your course. 

    This comes in a range of formats and can look like this:

    • Bursaries
    • Scholarships
    • Hardship funds 
    Often this is provided by alumni to support less advantaged peers in the future. From my own experience, I was fortunate enough to receive a £5000 Global Excellence Scholarship. This was related more to my background rather than my aspired course. 

    In terms of deciding to do full-time or part-time, would you like to share more with us about your current thoughts on this? We are here for you and listening to you if you would like to share more with us about this. 

    Again, I studied for my Master's degree part-time as this made the workload more manageable for me, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and allowed me to volunteer alongside. However, I also know people who studied full-time and this was the right option for them. 

    We can support you to navigate this if you would like us to. Take care for now and we will look forward to, hopefully, hearing from you again soon  :)
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
  • Sophli
    Sophli Community member Posts: 9 Listener
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    Thank you. I have looked and there is a £1000 bursary for limited students which I will apply for. I’ve trawled the grants and bursaries but found nothing appropriate. 
    I am entitled to a student loan but it will be short on the course tuition fees.
    I will probably do part time as it will allow me to work a bit more despite meaning I won’t be eligible for council tax reductions. If I do full time I also won’t be eligible for carers allowance which I can get if my income is lower as my husband is disabled.
    I guess I’m really looking for specific information about ESA as I have thoroughly explored the other options and just want to know what could be in store for me.
    thank you for taking the time to reply.
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,983 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 2023
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    It sounds really positive that there is a £1000 bursary you can apply for @Sophli. I am wishing you the best of luck with this. How are you feeling about the idea of applying for the bursary at the moment? Here for you and listening to you if you would like to share more with us about this.

    Sorry to hear that you've trawled the grants and bursaries but found nothing appropriate. This sounds really difficult (and time-consuming!). Have you been able to contact the admissions teams at the university/universities you want to apply for? Sometimes they're aware of things that aren't public knowledge.

    I completely hear you and your frustrations that the student loan doesn't completely cover the course tuition fees. My Master's degree was £5000 more than the student loan. I was just fortunate enough to receive a Scholarship, otherwise, I would have struggled to pay it so I can only empathise with you.

    Oh, it is such a balance isn't it, trying to find the route that works best for you practically and financially. It seems like you have really great awareness and insight though which is positive. It sounds like it will be particularly useful in allowing you to weigh up the pros and cons of each option.

    Hope someone with more knowledge and expertise around ESA can contact you soon! Is there anything specific you are looking for about ESA at this stage? Since I can see you have already received some responses about ESA and want to make sure you receive the information you are looking for at this stage.

    Take care for now and we will look forward to, hopefully, hearing from you again soon  <3
    Community Volunteer Adviser with professional knowledge of education, special educational needs and disabilities and EHCP's. Pronouns: She/her. 

    Please note: if I use the online community outside of its hours of administration, I am doing so in a personal capacity only.
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