Drama School Funding, Help!

  • Amy Barnes

    Actor

    Hi Guys -

    I was really lucky recently to land an offer from Central School of Speech and Drama on their BA Acting for Stage and Screen (3 year) course, starting this October. It was the first year I have auditioned for drama school and I was really surprised to get in anywhere, I've heard that doesn't normally happen, so I was, needless to say, pretty chuffed...

    Then the slap in the face - because I already have a degree (graduated 2 years ago), then under new government regulations, anyone holding a degree and trying to get an Equivalent Level Qualification, i.e. a second degree, has to pay the Overseas Student rate, which is...wait for it...bada bing!

    £13,500 a YEAR! So for three years, thats £40,000, plus living costs. SUCH a joke, and a shame I didn't know about this new 'law' before I went through the harrowing audition process...

    So my question today is...has anyone been through this, got around this, or know of FUNDING I can apply for, independently? As it is it looks like I can't go, as I just can't afford it. Central are also too small an establishment to help me out with such a large whack of money.

    So before I go back to the drawing (and auditioning) board, just wanted to know if anyone had any advice, or suggestions?

    Thanks in advance :)

    • 21st May 2009
    • 7999
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  • Samantha Joyce

    Actor

    Amy, congratulations honey on getting your place well done you. Fingers crossed for you about getting some funding x

    My friend has just got a place on the MA at Central and he is in the same postition but he is lucky and has the money to pay for it personally.

    • 19th May 2009
    • 1
  • Nadia Ostacchini

    Actor

    First of all, huge congratulations Amy! You must do all you can to make sure you go! Write to ex-Central actors you admire for donations perhaps?

    See if this link offers any info for you:

    www.thestage.co.uk/connect/faq/faq018.php

    Lots of Luck!

    • 19th May 2009
    • 2
  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    Well done for getting in. Would it be possible to ask if you can apply for a scholarship or does that not apply for a second degree? It's such a pain that this law exists.

    Good luck and let us know if you manage to get funding.

    xx

    • 19th May 2009
    • 3
  • Stephanie Lodge

    Actor

    Hi Amy

    Are you absolutely sure that you have to pay overseas student rates? I did a HND equivalent to 2 years of a degree and then went on to do a BA in Acting at Italia Conti. At that point you were only allowed to have 4 years funded in higher education apparently, so in the 2nd and 3rd year I managed to get my university top up fee (which at the time was £1075 as opposed to roughly £3000 as I think it is now) paid by my LEA as my family didn't earn over the threshold, but in the 1st year I had to pay it. But they didn't make me pay the overseas fee, just the top up amount. are you sure that they will make you pay the full £10,000?

    Steph

    • 19th May 2009
    • 4
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I funded my Post Grad with a post graduate studies loan from HSBC. The interest is 2% above the base rate. You don't start paying it back until the Jan after you've finished. Don't know if this helps for a 3 year course and what they offer. I would definitely check out whether you need to pay the overseas student rate...seems a bit harsh. My friend did the same thing at LAMDA after completing a degree...I'll see if I can find out from him what he did.

    Congratulations though...I hope you get to sort something out.

    Geri

    • 20th May 2009
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  • Helen Belbin

    Actor

    I don't see why you have to pay overseas rates, that just sounds weird. I know you can't get funding in the same way for a second degree but surely then you just have to find the fees as they stand, unless you're not a British citizen.

    Fundraising is really hard work, especially such a high amount, and don't forget about living costs.

    There's a massive directory that you'll find in the reference section of the library that you'll have to spend hours slogging through to see which funding bodies you're eligible to apply to.

    All the best!

    Hx

    • 20th May 2009
    • 6
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Congrats! That's fab! Normally schools have at least a few scholarship schemes that you can apply for. I've actually got a few funding details somewhere on my comuter from before I did my Postgrad. I'll try and dig them out and send them on to you x

    • 20th May 2009
    • 7
  • Amy Barnes

    Actor

    Thanks so much guys for all the help...

    Yes it is a lot of money, Central has no scholarships available really for the 3 year course, only for other courses - and the ones they DO have, you have to apply for after you have started the course, and it's simply £500 here and there, which would be magic, but won't really put a huge dent in the £40,000 odd to raise.

    HSBC do a loan of up to £25,000, depending on credit rating (I'm not sure mine is very good though, ha) but you have to pay it back after 3 months of taking it out, at about £300 - £400 a month, which isn't great but could be manageable if I nearly kill myself to get a job whilst training (can anyone tell me if they had a job whilst training - is it realistic timewise? I imagine training is hardcore enough)...and there IS the career development loan of £8,000 that I can apply for in my 2nd year (it only covers 2-year courses before you start paying THAT back, so wouldn't want to take it out straight away).

    Basically, the law is a fairly new one, as the government is scrapping funding for ELQ students...I expected to pay the regular tuition fees of £3,200 or close (the standard undergraduate tuition fees, as the government pays the rest of up to £13,500, which muggins here didn't realise) but didn't realise that I'd have to pay the full whack - and I have spoken to Central and there is nothing they can do...

    I think I feel a little silly that I didn't do my homework before applying, but it IS new legislation which came into effect last year - up til now, regardless of whether you had already got a degree or not, you still only had to pay the £3,200 contribution. but you're right, now that I have got in, I am trying all sorts to figure out how I can go. The problem lies in the fact that I have to get my £1,000 (non-refundable) deposit to Central by beginning of June, so wanted to get this sorted in the next...two weeks!

    I better get writing those 'help me' letters pronto! Any help in what other people have done (or you yourself have done) to secure funding and get around astronomical training fees is muchly appreciated! Thanks so much!

    Amy x

    • 20th May 2009
    • 8
  • Helen Belbin

    Actor

    Amy,

    Have you considered doing a one year post grad as a back up plan? It would be a lot cheaper (but by no means chaep, sadly) and you'd be eligible due to having done another degree already...

    Just a thought as that is an awful lot to raise in such a short space of time. I know that it won't be anything like doing a 3 year course. My drama school do an incredibly comprehensive one year acting course and there are various 1 or 2 year courses out there...

    All the best, I don't envy you!

    Hx

    • 20th May 2009
    • 9
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Amy, I have to agree with helen a bit there. As she's mentioned it is still incredibly expensive to do a 1 year Postgrad but still cheaper than three years. It's a shame that you've done so well in getting in. I'm still trying to dig out all the funding nonsence but my computer is a whole world of bloody headshots at the moment! Can't find anything! x

    • 20th May 2009
    • 10
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Congratulations on getting in! That's fantastic and you should be very proud of yourself!

    Amy is unfortunatlely right about this crazy LAW!!!! A friend of mine (UK citizen) came back from living in OZ for 3 years. Had to come back due to personal reasons. He tried to apply to complete his degree here which he had started there. As he had been out of the UK for more than 2 years he had to pay overseas student rates!!?? Which meant he couldn't possibly afford to complete his degree, meaning the last 3 years of study was a complete waste of money and time! Despite being a UK resident born and bred! Now it looks like this stupid money making law has now been extended to this, which is a big slap in the face to those who simply can't afford further education. How about we take the MP's outragous expenses and get them to pay for UK citizens to further their careers. In fact you should find out if your local MP is involved in the scandal and then get them to pay for your fees!

    Seriously I don't know what else to suggest. It's A LOT of money to find. What about a personal sponsor? Someone in your extended family or a trusted family friend who may be able to sponsor you? Just throwing ideas out there..... I really hope you find a solution! ;o)

    • 20th May 2009
    • 11
  • Helen Belbin

    Actor

    Another thing Amy,

    You can search previous discussions on here to read other threads (with lots of good advice) on this very topic.

    Hx

    • 20th May 2009
    • 12
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Amy, well done, congratulations.

    At the risk of sounding like an old fart, do please think this through before parting with 40k and three years of your life.

    Not a hope would I do that unless I could get a grant or a sponser.

    Have you tried approaching well known producers, actors even. I know this happens and if they think you are worthwhile an investment, they might sponser you through the training period.

    I woudl talk to several other recent gards from teh same course and see what they say too.

    Don't forget, Central can't lose...you will saddle yourself with huge debt!

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do, but do think it through.

    • 20th May 2009
    • 13
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    I have to agree with Mark. Its a HUGE commitment and the bills are astronomic. By all mean go for it if you feel its worth it, but I can say that there are other courses around which are not as expensive. the post grad may be a better option. Just my thoughts. To be saddled with that type of debt in such an unstable profession does need to be taken seriously and I would not want you to be stressed for years about a very large debt- debt is a deeply stressful thing and can cause a lot of problems.

    See if you can get any sponsorship perhaps? I dont know.

    • 21st May 2009
    • 14
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    On the subject of the one year post grad option, I feel it only fair to point out that the FEES aren't necessarily cheaper at a good, CDS affiliated venue - in fact, in terms of lump sum payment they are often considerably harder to meet, because, in effect, the balance of the fee has to be paid in one go, rather than spread out across several years. You would probably find that the fees work out at about the same (certainly, the fee for my own one year post grad was as expensive as any equivalent three year). Of course, this was at what was then standard rate, and I suppose what people may mean is that, because a post grad by its very definition is a second degree that *builds* upon the first, it will not, perhaps, be subject to the same legislation; consequently, you will not be charged for it at an equivalent rate. With that said, my own course did cost somewhere in the region of £12,000 in the first instance.

    On the other hand, it is more possible to work round commitments in post grad terms - particularly if you are specifically enrolled on a course which allows leeway for the actor to work as they study - most of these courses, it must be said, are not run by the CDS schools - but they are often of high quality, nonetheless, and well respected within the industry (Poor School, Actors' Company etc.). Even on a more standard one year postgrad you can get away with doing additional shift work in order to fund yourself, although it can be intense, inasmuch as the course itself expects a full time commitment. However, there is not, perhaps, the same level of restriction you would find on a three year course, where there is often an assumption that total focus over the course of the three years precludes any kind of outside activity.

    • 21st May 2009
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  • Morna Young

    Actor

    Hi Amy, long time no see - CONGRATS on being accepted! I got a lot of the funding for my course by looking through the big grants directory that HellsBells mentioned. It was a long and tedious process - researching each company to see if you meet their criteria, sending hundreds of letters (which costs money in itself) and, of course, getting lots of 'rejection' replies. Plus a lot of the companies would give grants of £500 - £1000 which, again, won't make a massive dent on the full amount! I wonder if your acceptance and deposit could be deferred for a year which might give you more time to work and save? Or possibly transferred to a 1 year course? I'm still shocked you have to pay overseas fees! Hope you're well xx Morna

    • 21st May 2009
    • 16
  • User Deleted

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    Jesus. thats mental. I cant beleive that you have to pay that much! I would echo what some have said on here. think very carefully, because your ability to work during training is very limited, and then you want to concentrate on your acting work (which doesnt pay well, usually!) once you graduate, not on paying back a massive loan. Im so sorry to hear that you're faced with such a decision. Are you still eligible for DADAs?

    • 21st May 2009
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