Students can now apply for a Postgraduate Masters Loan. Our guide below relates to the Postgraduate Loan for England.

About the Loan

You can get up to £10,906 for your whole course. The loan will be paid directly to you, in instalments during the course, and can be used as a contribution towards fees, or other study or living costs during the masters course, as you decide.

Who is eligible for the Postgraduate Masters Loan?

1. You must be a UK National, or have settled status in the UK, and have been resident in the UK for three years on the first day of the academic year of your course start date. This must have most recently been resident in England.

2. You may also be eligible if you’re an EU national and all the following apply:

  • you’re living in England on the first day of the first year of your course
  • you’ve normally lived in the European Economic Area or Switzerland for the past 3 years (this is also known as being ‘ordinarily resident’)
  • you’ll be studying at a university or college in England

3. You must be under 60 years old.

4. Eligibility is not based on income – the loan is not means tested.

Who is not eligible for the Postgraduate Masters Loan?

If you are a UK national, or have settled status or leave to remain in the UK but you ordinarily live outside England, ie in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, then you are not eligible. See below for details on Postgraduate Loans in other parts of the UK.

If you already have a Masters level qualification (or equivalent), or a higher level qualification, such as a PhD, you will not be eligible under Equivalent Level Qualification (ELQ) rules.

Which type of courses are covered by the Postgraduate Masters Loan?

1. A qualification which is classed as either a taught, research, or professional masters – eg MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MRes, MEd, MMus, MDes etc

2. Full time masters courses, which are 50% part-time – ie a course that is one year full-time or two years part-time, or two years full-time and up to four years part-time will be covered by the loan. A course that is one year full-time but three years part-time will not be covered for part-time study.

3. Both campus based and online courses are covered by the loan, as long as the course is delivered by an officially funded institution in the UK, which is authorised to award its own degrees (ie has taught degree awarding powers).

Are there any courses that are not covered?

Courses that are not at full master’s level, for example postgraduate diplomas or certificates, including PGCE, or a graduate certificate, are not covered by the loan.

The Money 

1. You apply for the loan via the Student Loans Company website.

2. Interest is calculated from the date when you receive the first loan instalment, but you won’t start repayments until the April after you complete your course,and if your income is less than £21,000 you will only start repayments once it reaches that level.

3. Loan interest is calculated at RPI+3%, and the repayment rate, once you start repayments is at 6% (the undergraduate loan is set at 9% so the PG loan is lower) of income above the £21,000 income threshold.

4. If you already have an outstanding undergraduate loan, you will have to pay the postgraduate loan off at the same time.

5. The loan will be issued by the Student Loans Company in 3 instalments across the year, starting once your enrolment and attendance are confirmed by your university. If you leave your master’s part way through or move to another course which is not covered by the loan, you will be liable for all repayments.

Key Points
For more information on how to apply visit the SFE website here.

Postgraduate Loans in other parts of the UK


In 2017, the Scottish Government confirmed plans for a £10,000 Masters Loans. You will need to apply through SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland) and must check that you meet the eligibility criteria. Further information for 2019/20 is available here.

Northern Ireland

A Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan for Northern Ireland students is available for new and continuing students. The only way to know how much you may be eligible for is to submit your application, you could receive up to £5,500. Applications for academic year 2019/20 are now open. Find out more here.


You can apply for a Postgraduate Loan in Wales if you’re starting a postgraduate Masters course in 2019/20. You could get up to £16,000 to help towards your course and living costs. Find out more here.

Is there a student loan for a PhD?
Yes. For information relating to the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan, see  here.

What if I have more questions?
We suggest you talk to the universities you are applying to.  To get regular updates on the loan and other Masters funding, register now for our newsletter. You can also check out the postgraduate loan video from Student Finance England.