Many International students need to apply for scholarships and grants to help them financially.
For those that do get into financial difficulty times will be tough, but there is support out there from both the UK government and a number of UK organisations - including the IET. In addition to financial hardship some students may want to come to the UK to study but just cannot afford it, so scholarships are an option to get you onto courses as well as help you get through them.
If you fit into either of those categories you may want to contact the wide range of organisations that can help you. In the first instance you should contact your own government to see if they can offer support as some governments have scholarships available to students who wish to study abroad. Whilst in your home country it is also worth contacting your local British Office for further information.
When looking into financial support you should always contact the university you are currently studying at or plan to be, before any outside organisations. The majority of them have some kind of hardship support available to help out in the short term, and outside organisations will often turn you away if you haven't asked your university for help before going to them.
The next step is to look around to see what kinds of support outside organisations can offer. Some businesses offer scholarships or grants for outstanding academics, and many charities etc offer scholarships for people working in their field of expertise. There are also scholarships open to people from certain countries - you need to spend a lot of time researching your options and then start getting in touch.
A good place to start is on the website for the British Council [new window] - it has a database of scholarships available, and just by simply putting in your details, it will come up with a list of scholarships and awards you should be able to apply for.
Most of the above support is for undergraduates, but there are also a number of options for international postgraduate students. The main scholarships for master's courses include:
Information on all of these can be obtained from you local British Council office.
One thing is to get on top of the situation early. Most scholarships are highly competitive, and have many more applicants that they can help. Closing dates for applications are often well in advance of the start of a new academic year, so you need to prepare early and make enquiries as soon as you can. If you do leave it till the last minute, it is very unlikely that you will obtain support for that academic year!