Sorting out your finances and funding can be difficult at any point. However, due to the rather complex systems and there often being a lack of information, it can be even worse for university students when applying for student finance. The problems especially arise when it comes to the more nitty-gritty parts of sorting out student finance, such as with your actual application for it and cover letters.
Continue reading to learn more about writing a cover letter to secure your student finance. This article will answer your burning questions about what this cover letter is all about, whether you need one and a step-by-step guide for writing your own.
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What is a student finance cover letter?
In general terms, a cover letter is normally used for a job application. It is a short letter, only about 5 paragraphs long, that is meant to essentially convince a potential employer to hire you. For more information about this, check out this guide by the National Careers Service.
However, for student finance, this cover letter can be pretty different and is at times less clear. While it may be in reference to the general student finance application, your student finance form. To learn more about these, check out this governmental guide.
A cover letter for student finance is more likely to be in reference to applying for additional finance for compelling personal reasons. This may also be known as discretionary funding.
This is where you are applying for additional funding from student finance to support you in your studies after having put on hold or withdrawn from your previous studies. This pause or withdrawal from your studies will need to have been unavoidable for it to come under the bracket of compelling personal reasons.
The idea of this cover letter is that you will need to explain your situation and why this means that you need more funding to study. You will also need to provide some form of evidence of your situation. For more information about this, check out this guide by the University of Manchester.
Do you need a cover letter for your student finance application?
Whether you need a cover letter for your student finance application will depend on what kind of application it is. For example, if this is just the regular student finance application, you will generally be able to apply online and so you won’t need a cover letter. To learn more about applying for funding, check out this UCAS guide.
However, if this application is for additional finance for compelling personal reasons, you will need a cover letter in order to explain your situation. Compelling personal reasons is an overarching term for a range of reasons for why someone may have had to stop or pause their studies. These can include but are not limited to mental or physical health issues, bereavement, pregnancy, or caring responsibilities.
The cover letter is important for discretionary funding as your application for this funding is much more of an appeal that the regular student finance application. In this way, your application for discretionary funding due to compelling personal reasons may not be accepted. To learn more about this, check out this guide by the Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union.
How long should your cover letter be for student finance?
While there’s not particularly an exact word count for how long your student finance compelling personal reasons cover letter should be, it mostly like will only need to fit about one side of A4. In fact, considering how it is in some ways structurally similar to the cover letter of a job application, it is likely that once again you may only need about 5 or so paragraphs, as mentioned above.
While it is unlikely to be very long, you will need to make sure that you include everything. Included in your student finance cover letter will need to be:
- Your personal details– This is including your name, address, ways of contacting you such as email or phone number and your student finance reference number.
- An explanation of what you are requesting– This is essentially to explain what type of funding you need, whether this is a reinstatement of funding from the year you couldn’t complete or if it is the continuation of your maintenance loan during your suspension of studies.
- An explanation of your situation– This is where you would explain what your compelling personal reasons for pausing or suspending your studies are and how they have affected you.
- An explanation of the timeframe– This is where you would explain when the problem(s) began and how long they have been an issue for.
- An explanation of how your situation has changed– This is for you to explain why the same situation that suspended your studies is unlikely to happen again.
For more information about all of this, check out this guide by Northumbria University.
How do you write a cover letter for student finance? (step-by-step guide)
Writing your cover letter for compelling personal reasons to student finance is no easy feat. However, it is such an important part of your application that it is important that know how to do it.
The following steps will take you through a step-by-step guide on how to write your cover letter to student finance. The information included in the following sections is taken from this guide by Aberystwyth University and this guide by Northumbria University. To find a template of a compelling personal reasons cover letter, you can check out this guide by Nottingham Trent University.
Step 1: Set up your student finance cover letter
The first thing you need to do when writing your compelling personal reasons cover letter is to properly set it up. By this, I mean that you need to essentially get your personal details section written and then plan what you’re going to put in the rest of the cover letter.
Your personal details section is essentially the part where you are actually setting it up as a formal letter. As mentioned above, this section is going to need to include your name, your student finance number, your address, your email/ phone number as well as the date of the letter.
Then, I would suggest planning your other sections to make it easier to write them up when it comes to it. To learn more about what the key points of each of these sections are, continue reading the following steps.
Step 2: Explain what you a requesting from student finance
For student finance to be able to help you, they will need to know what you need help with. This is why it is so important that you explain what you are requesting from them in your cover letter. It can also help to put it at the start to get it out of the way before your other sections.
However, you may also feel that it fits best at the end to wrap up your cover letter. The choice on how to structure your cover letter is up to you. To get you started, you may wish to use phrases, such as “I am writing to request…”.
Step 3: Explain what your situation was to student finance
For student finance to be able to properly consider your application, they will need to know what the circumstances that led you to suspend your studies were. In this part of your cover letter, you will need to explain your compelling personal reasons. This will need to be done in some depth so make sure you put enough focus on it.
This is the part where you would explain what the situation was, how it affected you and when your problems started and ended. You will also want to write about the emotional and/or physical effects it has had on your wellbeing, which have made you unable to carry on with your studies. To do this, you may want to use phrases, such as “I experienced…” or “I suffered with…”.
You will also need to include evidence of your situation, such as a medical note for health issues or a death certificate for bereavement. While this will not be in the cover letter itself, you will likely need to refer to where this evidence comes from and what type of evidence it is.
Step 4: Explain how your situation has now improved to student finance
In order to convince student finance that the funding will go to good use, you have to explain to them how your situation has changed so that you suspending your studies again is unlikely to happen. To do this, you may wish to describe any treatment you have had and explain how it has improved your situation or describe how your situation has otherwise improved.