"I am so grateful"

8 October 2010


My name is Helena and I recently completed an MA at UCL having studied for my undergraduate degree here as well. I studied English at UCL and knew from the day I set foot on campus for my interview that this was where I wanted to be. I loved the sense of history you felt just from walking round the cloisters and reading in the main library. I was excited too about the idea of living in a fantastically busy city whilst being part of a close-knit community. My UCL experience certainly didn’t disappoint; my tutors were fantastic and challenged me to produce my best.

A delicate balancing act

There was never any question in my mind about whether UCL was the university for me, but I did have to think about the cost involved in being a student. Attending university isn’t cheap and today’s students face an increasingly tough financial situation. For lots of people, studying means being stretched financially; your budget is a delicate balancing act and you worry constantly about things going wrong.

I was lucky enough to receive a bursary while I was at UCL which was funded by alumni donations. When I heard I’d been awarded the funding I was so relieved. To get the most out of university you need to be able to devote time to exploring new things and forming your own ideas. My bursary meant I didn’t have to work excessive hours in my part-time job which let me focus on studying without a constant ‘what if’ at the back of my mind. It made my time that little bit easier and I am so grateful to those alumni whose donations made my award possible.

Last year UCL awarded over 100 vital scholarships and bursaries that were funded by alumni like you. However, every year there are even more students who need the same financial support and UCL can’t currently help them all. For me the bursary wasn’t just ‘rent’ or ‘travel expenses’; it was a weight off my mind and the means to immerse myself in my degree. It was also comforting to know that my support was from people who had benefited from a UCL education in the past who were giving back to offer me the same privilege.

Coming to university is an amazing opportunity but it carries with it a lot of financial risk. I don’t know what I would have done without the financial assistance I received but I know I wouldn’t have had the same quality of experience at UCL that I did. I owe all the people whose collective generosity made it possible more than I could possibly begin to express.

Helena Franklin
BA English 2008 and MA Shakespeare in History 2009

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