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Funding a PhD with Cerebral Palsy

ZoeA93ZoeA93 Member Posts: 4 Listener
edited February 13 in Education and learning
Hi everyone!

My name is Zoe, I'm 26 and I currently live in Gloucester. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to pursue a career as an academic in the subject of English Literature. More specifically, for the past 5 years since graduating with a MA in the subject I've been working on a project looking at how disability is represented in Young Adult Fiction - which I'm very excited about! My ultimate goal is to bring greater representation in the industry and teach literature for and about disabled people like myself. I know I am very capable of doing this academically, but my life circumstances have always held me back.

I have mild cerebral palsy, I'm very high functioning, can walk and do 80-90% of daily tasks unaided, so I am very lucky as I live on my own! However, I often struggle with fatigue, muscle aches and cramps, and severe anxiety and depression of my condition. I've been trying for five academic cycles to get scholarship funding through various universities and graduate schemes, but have never gotten anywhere.

I hold down a full time job at the moment (37.5 hours a week), and it looks likely that the only able I would be able to pursue my dream is take out a doctoral loan and work and then do my studies on top. Whether I could manage this alone remains to be seen. I know it's probably a long shot but I just wanted to know if anyone out there knows of any charities who could help? Am I asking for too much in life?

Note: I would be applying for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) and government loans on top of this, but just to give you an idea of the costs we're talking £4,000-£5,000 per year tuition fees over 3 years (minimum for full time study) plus 'maintenance', which realistically needs to be £18k before tax to cover my rent etc.

Thank you!

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