Course Fees can be confusing and daunting if you are applying to Drama Schools in the UK. There are lots of things to consider when you are making your decision about which of the UK’s leading Drama Schools could be right of you. (By the way do visit the Federation Of Drama Schools website for the list of the UK’s leading Drama Schools.)
One of the things that you need to understand when you are deciding to train as an actor is the cost of the training and what funding is available to help you pay for your course fees and your living costs.
In this blog we have put together some helpful suggestions to guide you through course fees and funding your acting training.
Course fees at UK Drama Schools and how to obtain funding
- Make sure that you know how much the course fees are for your chosen course. Generally this is worked out as tuition costs per year;
- Look at what Government Funding is available to help with the cost of the course fees and whether the Drama School can offer funding for living costs (maintenance) as well;
- Government funding for training will either be a student loan (which you pay back when you are earning over an income threshold) or a grant (which you don’t pay back);
- Check if the Drama School has any additional School bursaries available to support their students with course fees and their living costs;
- Most Drama Schools will know about Charities and Trusts and Foundations and even individuals who support students to train. Talk to the Drama School about whether they will offer you help with finding other funds to help with your course fees and living costs;
- Do your own research in your local area. There could be local or regional organisations such as local Trusts, Theatre Groups or even local Sponsors who can help with course fees;
- Many students personally fundraise through their friends and families but also through crowd funding to help with course fees. You may be surprised how small amounts from lots of people can add up. Every little bit helps. When you are fundraising be specific about what you need (food for a year, course fees etc) and set a financial target.
- Students should be prepared to consider supporting themselves through Drama School by trying to save up prior to starting a full time Drama Course in the UK. Students often work during the School holidays and may work some hours at the weekend as well. Acting Training can be very demanding, so it isn’t advised to work too many hours on top of a full time course but on a Three Year Course, it can be enjoyable to do something completely different once a week and it can provide you with money to socialise to help balance your studies with work and social/family life.
In preparation for Drama School prepare a budget
Note down what you currently spend so that a budget for what you need when training is as accurate as possible. If you are saving up before you start training, see whether there are any costs that you can do without or reduce. Creating your budget plan allows you to be prepared and think of ways you can cover these areas through financial support from your family/friends, savings, government schemes, school bursaries, local charities and part time work.
Future expenses to consider when preparing your budget can include…
- Your accommodation costs – rent and bills
- Daily transport to and from School
- Training wear such as tight and loose clothing to work in when you are in class
- Social Life
- Subscriptions for gyms or one-off exercise classes
- Traveling home in the holidays
- Other expenses such as your phone and other subscriptions
- Course fees – There may be some costs for books or equipment. Some courses require you to pay a fee to take a Diploma but if you receive government funding this may be covered.
At the Oxford School of Drama we want to make sure that everyone can get access to training so we work hard to ensure that applicants who are offered a place on our Three Year and One Year courses can get the financial support they need to enable them to train at the School and we talk all our students through the funding process which will be different for everyone but for most of our students that will be a combination of different government funding. Bursaries are also available for our Six Month Foundation Course in Acting.
The Oxford School of Drama is lucky enough to be able to offer its students a student grant (Dance and Drama Awards) and/or a student loan (Advanced Learner Loans) towards both course fees and living costs for One Year and Three Year Courses and we have different types of Student Bursaries to support students across all of the Courses.
Dance and Drama Awards (DaDA)
The Government’s Dance and Drama Award Scheme provides grants for exceptionally talented people who wish to pursue a career as a performer. Awards are means-tested. The maximum Awards will fund 100% of a student’s course fee and provide them with an annual living allowance in the form of a grant (it does not need to be repaid). For further information visit www.gov.uk/dance-drama-awards
Advanced Learner Loans (ALL)
The Government’s Advanced Learner Loans provide students of 19 years and over a loan to help to fund their course fees. Loan eligibility does not depend on your income, there are no credit checks, and they are available to those who have already had a student loan. When you take out an ALL you will also get access to bursaries to support your travel, living and childcare costs.
Bursaries available at The Oxford School of Drama
The Oxford School of Drama is committed to promoting inclusivity in the arts and is working proactively towards greater diversity in the range of actors training for the profession. Lack of available funding, which disproportionately affects those applying for our Foundation and One-Year courses, can be a barrier to talented prospective students.
As part of our commitment to ensuring fairer access, we offer three bursaries for students accepted onto our Six Month Foundation Course and two for our One Year Acting Course, for entry in September 2023.
The bursary amounts are as follows
- 3 x Foundation Course bursaries – £3.5k each
- 2 x One Year Course bursaries – £5K
For the Foundation Course bursaries, applications are welcomed from anyone with a household income under £35,000 for whom the total fee amount acts as a barrier to accepting a place.
For the One Year Course bursary, applications are open to anyone who will be 24 or over on the day the course begins and therefore not eligible for a DaDA award, with a household income under £35,000. Visit our Funding and Fees page for more information.
For more information about external funding opportunities see below:
Spotlight provide a list of some Funds and Bursaries Funds, Bursaries and Awards you should know about to help towards course fees and pursue your passion in the Arts.
This includes The National Youth Arts Trust who grant drama bursaries, up to £1,000 each, to talented young people aged 12-25 who can’t afford to access opportunities in the arts.
Open Door is an organisation that helps talented young people who do not have the financial support or resources to gain a place at one of the UK’s leading drama schools.
The Turn2us website allows you to search a database of over 3,000 charitable funds offering welfare and educational grants, financial assistance and other forms of support. Go to the Grants search page below, and enter your postcode to see a list of the charitable grants in your local area which you might be able to apply for.
There is also The LET Bursary which is a joint initiative from Les Enfants Terribles and WildChild to help support emerging talent through a 3-year undergraduate course plus their first year as a professional actor.
The Mayflower Theatre Higher Education Bursary Scheme provides financial support.