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How to Get Funding: Financial Guide for British Students Studying Abroad

The benefits of studying abroad are well documented. The chance to experience new cultures, to bolster your CV, and expand your network of friends makes studying abroad a no-brainer. Not to mention the chance to escape the British weather for sun-smashed Australian beaches or swap your local park for hikes in China’s mountainous countryside.

There’s just one problem. Going to university in your home country is expensive enough without factoring in a trip abroad, airfares, insurance, and accommodation overseas. In this guide we’ll cover funding for British students studying abroad – how to get it, what your options are, and how much you could receive. 

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What is a grant?

One possible route for getting funding for British students studying abroad is a grant. We’ll start with the best bit – you don’t have to pay these back. A travel grant will be paid into your bank account and doesn’t need to be owed at the end of your course. 

This type of government funding for studying abroad can absorb some of your costs, but it does come with eligibility criteria. 

Am I eligible for a grant to study abroad? 

The main criteria is that you live in England and are studying abroad as part of your course. Alternatively you could be on a study or work placement (like the Turing Scheme), or be a medical student applying for study abroad funding. 

Next up, you’ll have to make sure that for at least half of the term you are at your overseas institution. If you’re doing a clinical placement the rules are even stricter, the study abroad placement has to be an essential part of your course. 

How much will I get? 

So you’re eligible, but now you want to know exactly how much is the funding for British students studying abroad? It’ll come down to your household income. To work this number out you’ll need to add up your own income (if you are currently working) with that of your guardian, parents, partner, or spouse – whichever you live with. You don’t have to include other family members or housemates in your total figure. 

As a rough guideline of what funding to study abroad you can expect, most grants will cover three return journeys between your home and chosen overseas institution within an academic year. 

Another perk is medical insurance and travel visas, a grant will help you out with these kinds of essential travel costs. 

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How to apply for financial aid

Once you’ve ticked off your eligibility and how much funding for studying abroad you could get, you’re ready to apply. This is the easy bit! All you have to do is login to Student Finance and apply for funding for British students studying abroad. They’ll send you back a Course Abroad form to fill out and submit. If you’re successful you’ll automatically receive your grant. 


What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is similar to a grant in that it doesn’t need to be paid back. The key difference is that it is merit or needs based. This means that you’ll have excelled in a certain subject or you’re a student who wouldn’t usually have the chance to study abroad. 

How competitive is it?

Scholarships have a reputation of being like gold dust. They are few and far between and only in reach for the exceptionally gifted in either sport or academics. But this isn’t actually the case. Scholarships are actually a really viable way to get funding for studying abroad. There are all kinds of niche scholarships out there depending on your university of choice. 

How can I find a scholarship?

Reach out to your chosen list, or shortlist, of universities and ask what scholarships they have on offer. Or you could start with a Google search of the subject-specific scholarship you are interested in and hone in on universities from there. 

Alternatively there are wider competitions you can enter. The Fullbright Awards are probably the most popular of these. They award some UK students who get or are predicted a 2:1 in their undergraduate places on postgraduate scholarships. It’s a good option for funding for British students studying masters abroad too.  Another example would be the British Council run Global Study Awards. The winner is awarded up to £10,000 funding to study abroad. 

Student loans

What are student loans?

Student loans are another option for funding for British students studying abroad. Unlike grants and scholarships they do need to be paid back. The money you receive from a loan can often be higher and cover everything from living costs to tuition fees.  


Taking out a loan can be a scary prospect but it’s important to remember you don’t have to pay it back in a lump sum. Repayments will start to be made once you earn over £27,295 a year. The other good news is that the interest rates are usually lower than that of personal loans. 

If you’re able to, it’s worth getting ahead and paying back your loan in small increments. That way the interest won’t accumulate.

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Personal loans

If you decided to go down the route of a personal loan, rather than a student loan, you’d need proof of your income. This is to show that you’d be capable of paying the loan off over time. Check with your bank to see what amount you’d be eligible for and what the repayments period would be. 

Other options for funding to study abroad


Play the long game… budgeting for university whilst you’re still studying at high school isn’t the ideal way to get study abroad funding in the short term. It’ll mean less money for your current living expense, but the payoff is huge. Not having to secure a grant or being in debt with a loan will set you up for university life and beyond. 

Can UK students study in Europe for free?

Sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t! There are EU countries where university is tuition-free. Post-Brexit the list of these open to the UK has got significantly shorter but there are still some countries that offer fee-free uni. Norway and Germany in particular are popular with UK students. 

Can I get a job abroad to fund my studies?

Another way to fund studying abroad yourself is to get a job whilst you’re at university. There are usually jobs going at Student Unions, in the library, and other hospitality sectors of the university. Check their website and see if you can apply ahead of time. 


Another key cost to factor into the big move – shipping. After securing a loan, scholarship, grant or any type of financial aid to study abroad, your attention should turn to moving your belongings to your overseas destination of choice. This can often be costly, with mishandled goods and excess baggage fees adding to the stress. 

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Ship with Sherpr and we’ll transport your goods seamlessly from door-to-door. Simply get a quote online and pack your items. We’ll pick them up and ship them to your end destination at a time and place of your choosing. You can even track your items whilst they are in transit for added peace of mind. Check out our student shipping pages for more information.