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Durham University

Research & business

Low cost ethical loans for postgraduate study

(20 September 2015)

FundED: Future Focussed Postgraduate Loans

Durham University has launched an innovative postgraduate loan product to help to attract the most talented students to further study after they finish their undergraduate degree.

The University is collaborating with an established credit union to provide low cost ethical loans for UK postgraduate taught students of all ages.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) awarded the University funding to develop this initiative.

Esther Green, Community Officer at Durham Students’ Union said: “We welcome this new credit union project. This will provide much-needed access to funding for our postgraduate students. We are really pleased to see the University is trying something new to support the postgraduate community.” 

As part of the process, the University carried out a feasibility study which examined the appetite for the initiative and informed the process of selecting a service partner.

NEFirst, a highly-regarded credit union in the North East, has been appointed to deliver the service in collaboration with the University.

Professor Tim Clark, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Credit Union Steering Group at Durham University said:

“Postgraduate education gives our graduates a head start, equipping them with high-level skills to enable them to achieve their long term ambitions. We are therefore very excited to be able to offer this opportunity.

“Community is central to the setting up of a credit union; membership is based on a common bond shared by savers and borrowers. At Durham University, we have a very well established community and in the longer term, we will invite staff members to join the scheme.”

Gavin Hennessey, Chief Executive Officer, at NEFirst said:

“The Credit Union movement strives to offer financial assistance to young people to help them reach their goals and we are therefore delighted to be given the opportunity to work in collaboration with Durham University. Furthermore, we are proud to be a community credit union and have a synergy with the strong sense of community at Durham University.”

Dr Brooke Storer-Church, Postgraduate Policy Advisor, HEFCE, said:

"As one of our Postgraduate Support Scheme pilot projects, Durham University provided a valuable proof-of-concept project exploring the viability of establishing a credit union that could provide much needed financial support to postgraduate students. We support the collaboration between Durham and NEFirst credit union and welcome lessons that can be derived from it and shared more widely across the sector."

To find out more and apply for a loan, go to:

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