In conversation with: Jeremy Mitchell, SU Finance Officer 22/23
We know that finances can be hard to manage whilst studying, especially when you’re living somewhere as expensive as London! That’s why we’ve compiled these tips and tricks, and short guides to figuring out what funding is available through Guildhall.
Tips and Tricks
Before we dive into this, just a quick disclaimer that we are in no way, shape, or form, financial advisors! This is just some advice gathered from us students/recent graduates within the SU team which have helped us over the past few years.
1) Get a job: This sounds obvious, but it’s also a good place to start!
Earning money while studying full time can be very difficult, but it’s not impossible. Your studies should always be the priority, but even if you work a job just one day a week for a few hours each time, that’s still money that can go towards groceries, rent, etc.
Finding something flexible with our demanding school schedule can be a challenge but you have the internet at your disposal. You would be surprised the amount of easy money that can be made through answering random survey questions, online tutoring, babysitting or even walking dogs. You can also find many 0 hours contract jobs around Guildhall as a steward, in the bar, or just next door at The Barbican. We also try to put any job adverts that come our way in the monthly newsletter and on our social media platforms.
2) Financial Self-Awareness: Know how you’re spending your money
What do you spend your money on? It’s a good place to start, because once you become aware of those habits, you then have the power to change those habits. Groceries, for example, are a huge component of everyday spending and there has been a huge increase of the cost of groceries over the past year. It’s a good point of reference in being aware of what sorts of things you buy, where you buy them from, and what’s the want/need of paying for that item? We’re not saying you need to micromanage every penny you spend, but these are just general questions to consider when trying to budget effectively and save money.
Here is a useful link on how to save money on your food & grocery bill. Most banking apps also now have specified trackers which monitor your spending, so this would also be a good point of reference when tracking spending.
3) Credit Card
Now we may get some heat on this one, but Credit Cards can actually be a very valuable asset to students if used correctly. Credit cards should be viewed EXACTLY THE SAME as Debit Cards… which basically means no one should buy something they can’t afford now. The major benefit credit cards grant people, is that they are similar to a Tesco Clubcard in that for every pound that is spent using a credit card, you receive points. As you continue to gain points, these points can be used for future big purchases such as a flight / trip, a piece of furniture you been saving for, those pricey trainers you really wanted, or even cash back! It’s also important to note though, that credit cards do come with fees (typically annual fees). If you are late on payment, those fees can increase substantially, hence why it’s important to treat the credit card as a debit card to ensure you only spend money on things you know you can afford now. Credit cards also help, when you may want to start to think about home ownership / mortgages. If you establish good credit while you are younger, these costs can essentially be lower and help you save money in the long run.
Here is a useful link that breaks down the reward / benefits of credit cards and even suggests a few credit cards to look into more closely.
The Emergency Support Fund
Previously called The Hardship Fund, The Emergency Support Fund is in place to provide emergency support, e.g. a quick fix to help get you out of immediate hardship that is unexpected or unforeseen. It will be a one-time payment to help you out of immediate hardship, and you do not have to pay it back. All students, except junior fellows and extra murals (Exchange students from partnering institutions such as Tokyo College of Music) are eligible to apply.
The Hardship Fund is not an alternative to a scholarship – it is there to assist students who due to unforeseen circumstances, find themselves in temporary financial hardship (e.g. you do not have sufficient funds to cover basic living costs such as food and rent in the immediate future and have no recourse to other funds). Additionally, the Hardship Fund may make a contribution towards assessments and/or specialist equipment in respect of students with a disability where this is not covered by DSA.
The Hardship Fund will not provide awards for: Tuition fees, library fines or other debts to the School, travel to home address (except in extraordinary circumstances such as serious illness of a relative, or death in a family), competition fees or travel to competitions, headshot photography, health & welfare services that are already provided by the School, legal fees or luxury items.
The panel meets every two weeks on a Friday morning, so you’re never more than two weeks away from an answer when you make an application (except outside of term time, when the fund still exists but operates on a limited basis.) Often, Student Affairs will send an email with clarifying questions after the meeting to help with making their decision.
You will need to fill in an application form on Microsoft Forms and an income and expenditure form, and there’s also a chance to upload supporting documents. The application form covers basic personal details and also gives you a chance to say why you’re applying. Other uploads help with the full picture – for example, if you have lost your job you might send a termination letter, or if you’ve been unwell and unable to work, you might send a doctor’s note.
The income and expenditure form is a short Excel sheet where you fill in your monthly income and costs – for example, tuition fees and any grants you receive will be their income. Your costs will be rent, bills, travel to school, food, social activities etc. Important! The school is not looking to pry into your purchases and question you about them! They need to look at bank statements to understand your financial situation, but they are not there to judge.
You can ask for any amount, but the maximum that would normally be awarded is £1000. Every application is different though, so there is no set amount they award.
Annie Hodgson who works in Student Affairs is always there to help if you have any questions, so you can email her or pop into the Student Affairs office and she’ll be happy to sit and have a chat about it and/or complete the form with you there.
If you need to use a laptop to complete some course work, whatever that might be, and you do not have your own, the School has 12 laptops that you are able to loan for between 4-24hrs at a time. There is no limit to how often you can borrow the laptop, you just have to be sure to return it at the allocated time or you may be temporarily blocked from borrowing them. You can find out more about the service on MyGuildhall here.
There are a number of internal music competitions for various different music categories or instrument types, which nearly all have monetary prizes. You can find the list of competitions and application details on MyGuildhall here.
You can find out information about all the different types of Financial Awards/Scholarships that Guildhall offer here. However, to help make things easier we thought we’d give you a little break down of the different types.
1. Guildhall School Financial Award:
All students can apply for a Guildhall School Financial Award, and the application form is available via eGo.
2. Named Scholarship Awards:
The School also has a range of named scholarship awards, which are supported by a variety of generous donors including City Livery companies, grant-making trusts and foundations, businesses and individuals, and are for specific courses/pathways. However, all scholarship applicants are considered through the Financial Awards process, and you cannot apply directly for specific awards.
3. Guildhall Access Bursary
The Access Bursary offers eligible UK undergraduate students (whose backgrounds are underrepresented in higher education, and at the School) an award of between £3-5k each year of their studies, to ensure that they have the financial support to study with confidence. You can find out more here.
External Scholarships, Bursaries & Competitions
As well as lots of internal funding opportunities, there are countless external funders that previous students have received support from. MyGuildhall will be updated regularly with the most relevant information on these, and you can find a list of the external scholarships available for the 2022-23 academic year here.
If you have any questions about what external funding is available, or if you need help submitting an application, you can contact the Senior Student Funding Officer via email. Please note: It is your own responsibility to look up what scholarships you are eligible for, and should only contact the funding officer if you need help with specific things – it is not their job to go through all of them for you.
Websites with funding opportunity databases
There are also many websites which have databases full of funding opportunities for a variety of things. Here are just a few to get you started:
Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding – The Alternative Guide (AGO) is a web resource for current and prospective postgraduate students (any subject, any nationality) who are looking to fund PhD, Masters, and PGCE study in the UK through grants from charities, trusts, and foundations!
Arts Council – The National Lottery Project Grant is open all the time, and you can apply for grants between £1,000 and £100,000 to fund individual or community based projects. They also have the Developing your Creative Practice fund, which supports individual cultural and creative practitioners ready to take their practice to the next stage through things such as: research, time to create new work, travel, training, developing ideas, networking or mentoring. Its open for applications 4 times a year.
Charity Commission Advanced Search – Here you can find information about any registered charity in England or Wales, including what the charity does, trustees, and finance information.
European Funding Guide – Search from over 10,000 scholarships, grants and awards to help with funding your studies.
Family Action Group – Family Action has been distributing grants to help people and families in need since 1869.
Graduate Prospects – Discover your postgraduate funding options with this guide to the loans, scholarships and bursaries available, and get advice on employer sponsorship and working while studying.
Help Musicians UK Funding Wizard – Find other opportunities relevant to your needs, and get guidance on applying for support available from Help Musicians UK.
International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search – IEFA is the premier resource for international scholarship and grant information for students. You’ll find the most comprehensive listing of scholarships for international students here.
Postgraduate Studentships – Information on funding for Postgraduate studies.
Studentcashpoint – Student Cash Point is designed to advise and assist students in the process of finding funding opportunities to cover the costs of going to university. Student Cash Point offers a signposting service, which helps you to find funding opportunities available to cover the costs of your studies – from your course and accommodation to childcare, equipment, travel expenses and more.
Turn2us – Turn2us helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and face to face through their partner organisations.
Individual Organisations That Offer Funding
There are also organisations which have their own funding available. Here are a few below:
Countess of Munster Musical Trust – Since 1958 the Trust has worked to support young musicians of professional potential to achieve their aims, by funding their educational fees and living expenses and also subsidising concerts to ease the transition from student to professional life.
Royal Philharmonic Society – Through their programme of grants, commissions, professional development and performance opportunities, the RPS has helped countless performers and composers overcome barriers to progress and fulfil their potential.
Study UK – Whether you want to find scholarships, or tips on how to budget, need some general support and guidance with your studies or help with moving to the UK, Study UK has got you covered.
Worshipful Company of Musicians – As the only City of London Livery Company dedicated to the performing arts, they nurture talent and share music through their concerts, outreach, awards and young artists’ programme.