How to fund your university education
UNIVERSITY is an investment in your future career prospects, but it can put a huge strain on your finances.
Tuition fees, accommodation, maintenance and travel costs all add up over the space of a three-year undergraduate degree. Postgraduate education adds to the spiralling cost.
If you’re lucky, your family might be able to finance part, if not all, of your university experience. However, if this isn’t possible, there are other options. With a bit of preparation and budgeting, university needn’t be a bank breaker. Here’s how:
Scholarships and grants
Nationals can attend government institutions free of charge across all of the UAE. For expats, government-funded education is generally unavailable, but there are various forms of financial help.
Many of the leading universities in the UAE offer a variety of scholarships and grants to help with financing a degree. An academic achievement scholarship is available for high-achieving students. These will either reduce the tuition fees or completely cover tuition costs.
If you’re not in the top percentage needed to qualify, there are other options. Sports achievement scholarships are available to students looking to attend American universities in the UAE. Meanwhile, need-based financial aid is available to students who need specific help with funding a certain part of their degree.
In some cases, there is also the option of attaining a grant. Grants are often available on specific courses. When applying for a course the admissions office should inform you of any potential grants available. If it doesn’t, ask!
Alternatively, it might be possible to get external funding from a sponsor in return for part-time work throughout your course. This can be extremely beneficial when you complete your course, as your work experience will set you apart from the crowd.
Banks in the UAE are becoming more student-friendly. Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and Mashreq Bank joined forces with higher learning institutions to allow families to support their children through university.
Not all banks offer a specific educational loan scheme, but another in the UAE that does is Dubai Islamic Bank.
While an education loan might be worth looking into, avoid the pitfalls of borrowing on forms of credit that are hugely expensive if you don’t have the finances to repay the debt quickly. For example, credit card rates in the UAE are among the highest in the world.
However you borrow, ensure you know the repayment scheme. The cost of borrowing could soon rocket, especially if you fall behind on repayments.
If you get a loan, it can be tempting to go on a spending spree. Resist! Budgeting week-by-week for rent, living costs and utilities can give you a comfortable student lifestyle, while allowing you to calculate what extra money you have for luxuries.
If your money won’t go as far as you’d hoped, get a part-time job. It could be a couple of shifts a week, weekend work or as-and-when work, but any extra income is beneficial when you’re studying.
Why not get a job related to your course? When university finishes, hundreds of graduates can apply for the same position. By working in your related field when at university, you not only earn extra cash, but you also enhance your CV for future employment.
Pic credit: Carlos Porto/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Are you going to university? Do you have any money-saving tips for other prospective students? Share your experiences below!