On 28 June, RIBA President Angela Brady hosted a summer party at the RIBA in London to raise funds for the RIBA Education Fund. The RIBA Education Fund provides grants to students who are experiencing financial hardship. It was set up to ensure that the study of architecture remains financially accessible to all, and proves to be a lifeline to the many students it supports. Thanks to the generosity of a number of supporters and donors, our 2012 fundraising event raised over £16,000 for the Education Fund’s student grant programme.
At the dinner, Georgie Day, a Part I student who had received funding from the Education Fund this academic year, spoke to the audience about what this grant meant to her. Her speech has been transcribed below.
‘My name is Georgie Day and I have just graduated from the University of Westminster just around the corner from where we are sat today.
I applied to the RIBA education fund this time last year and was fortunate enough to be granted funding.
I had applied to the fund because at the start of my third year, I was unexpectedly notified by the Student Loans Company that my financial entitlement had changed. Due to some confusion over legislation, I was actually going to receive a fraction of the loan I had been expecting and upon which all my financial forecasts had been based.
I have worked part time throughout my degree and continued to do so in my third year but the prospect of increasing my hours under the mounting pressure of the degree wasn’t an option. A scarcity in university funding meant that Westminster was also unable to help, and I was left facing the impossible. Thankfully, the RIBA education fund was there to step in. I used the money I was granted towards the shortfall in my fees, and towards the living costs I would otherwise have been unable to meet.
As a result I have been able to go on to finish my degree this year graduating with a first class honours of which I am very proud. I want to go on to produce good socially responsible architecture. my final project this year was a school. my research and investigation confirmed my belief that good design can make the difference.
Looking into the innovative work of the architects behind the BSF schools, and indeed the whole history of progressive design before them, has made me certain that architecture is the right choice for me. I look forward to testing some of the ideas I have been experimenting with in the safety of my portfolio against the hard reality of physical, regulatory and financial constraints.
The education fund is crucially important. The reality is that money is a worry for many students, especially in the context of the recession and the coming changes to student funding. The fund acts as a lifeline to students like myself who literally would have been unable to complete the degree without its assistance.
The length of an architecture degree, the cost of materials, and the cost of taking opportunities which I know can make a project exceptional, such as visiting a gallery, or going to lecture, makes studying architecture cost more than many other subjects.
I believe that it is vital that the opportunity to contribute to, and gain from, such a rich discipline is available to all.
Georgie Day, 28 June 2012
If you are an architecture student, you can find out more about the RIBA Education Fund here visit the student funding pages of the RIBA website.