Charities and Trusts


There are thousands of charities and educational trusts that give money away to help people study. Unfortunately demand for help far outstrips supply and the chances are against success. Nevertheless, if you are in genuine need there may be a Trust willing to help you.

How do I find out about trusts?

Larger libraries will often hold copies of directories such as:

  • Directory of Grant Making Trusts by the Charities Aid Foundation
  • Educational Grants Directory by the Directory of Social Change
  • Charities Digest by the Family Welfare Association

Charities and TrustsThe British Council provides an information resource for international students on the internet

You may also find out about local charities that may not be mentioned in the national directories through your library, local community information organisations, careers service or your education authority.

The Educational Grants Advisory Service (EGAS) specialises in finding money for students in need. The service is free but priority is given to lone parents, people with disabilities, refugees and people with exceptional difficulties. EGAS advise that undergraduates with access to grants/students loans and no special circumstances stand little chance of success with educational trusts. Students applying for help with postgraduate study are advised to apply well in advance of their course; help is very limited for non-vocational courses.

Address: 501-505 Kingsland Road, London E8 4AU
Information line tel: 0207 254 6251
Opening hours: Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays, 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm

Who do trusts help?

Each trust is usually set up to help a particular type of person. This can depend on your sex, age, where you were born/live, your religion, nationality, former occupation what type of course you are on, whether you receive any other funding etc. Trusts will expect you to have exhausted any other funding options available to you, e.g. student loans, hardship funds, benefits etc. If you don't meet the trust's personal criteria you will not be helped.

What will trusts help with?

This too varies from trust to trust. Some Trust's help with general living expenses to support students completing the last stages of a course, others will only help with course costs or fees. A particular trust may help with a broad range of needs but others may be very specific. There is no point in applying for a type of expense that the trust does not pay. The trust information you have found should give you an indication of the maximum amount of assistance available, you are unlikely to be successful by asking for more than the trust are able to give. If your financial circumstances are such that you need far more than the trust can help and you have no way of meeting the remaining shortfall there would be little point in the trust helping you. Sometimes you may have to apply to several trusts for different expenses to get all the help you need.

When should I apply?

Some trusts consider applications throughout the year; however, you will often find that application deadlines are set perhaps once a year or quarterly. Also check whether the trust only considers applications from people before studies start or during certain stages of study. It often pays to consider looking at trusts at the earliest opportunity to give yourself time to plan your applications.

How do I apply?

Generally you will have to make a written application, many trusts have their own application form, otherwise applications are by letter. Some trusts will only accept applications from certain referral agencies or from people personally known to the trustees. You will usually find the application procedure in the trust directory entry.

If the trust produces an application pack this will give you more information to help you decide whether the trust is suitable and if so help you with completing your application.

Often there are also contact details for a clerk to the trust who would be able to give further advice about the trust and the application process. A short telephone call to the clerk may save you a lot of time and effort.

Whether you are applying by form or letter, take your time over your application so that it is as clear and well presented as possible. Trustees usually receive many more applications than they are able to help with, you do not want to unnecessarily reduce your chances of success.

Do not copy the same application letter to many trusts; this approach will not be successful. Each trust has its own particular interests and you should tailor the information you give to show how your request meets the individual trust's criteria. Generally though the following core information will be required by most trusts:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Family details, e.g. whether married and details of dependants
  • Details of previous study and qualifications
  • Course information, including; subject, qualification, college, course start and end dates.
  • A financial statement, i.e. your personal budget showing income and expenditure and any savings you have.

There is likely to be additional information you will wish to include depending on the trust. Remember that trustees have discretion as to who they pay, explain your individual circumstances fully and persuade the trustees you are the sort of person that they can help.

Well Aware

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If you do not have access to a computer, you can ask the Well Aware team at The Care Forum instead by calling (freephone) 0808 808 5252 (9.30-4.30, Mondays to Fridays) (There is an answering machine to leave a message if the Well Aware team is not available.)

Useful publications and organisations

  • Educational Grants Advisory Service
    T: 020 7254 6251
  • Directory of Social Change
    T: 020 7391 4800
  • Charities Digest, Waterlow’s Legal Publishing
  • Study Abroad, UNESCO
  • Scholarships for Study in the USA and Canada, Peterson’s
  • Music, the Arts and Education Rhinegold
  • The Grants Register, Palgrave Macmillan
    This is particularly relevant to postgraduate student awards for both the UK and overseas.
  • Prince’s Trust
    Offer two different types of grant and Funding for Awards varies depending on Region or Country.
  • Well Aware
    Is a free, online information resource. it has lots of information on 1,000s of health, wellbeing and community groups.