Students can now apply for a Postgraduate Loan for Masters study. Our guide below on how to apply and find answers to your postgraduate loan questions relates to the Postgraduate Loan for England.
The Scottish Government confirmed plans for £10,000 Masters loans in 2017. Further information for 2018/19 is available here.
A postgraduate tuition fee loan for Northern Ireland students is available for new and continuing students. Applications for academic year 2018/2019 are now open. Find out more here.
You can apply for a Postgraduate Loan in Wales if you’re starting a postgraduate Master’s course in 2018/19. You could get up to £13,000 to help towards your course and living costs. Find out more here.
The Master's Loan Scheme - Key Points
Here are the latest updates and key points about the postgraduate loan from Student Finance England. For more information on how to apply visit the SFE website here.
About the Loan
You can get up to £10,609 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 master's course, as you decide.
Who is eligible for the 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 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.
If you already have a master's level qualification, or equivalent level qualification, 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 loan?
1. A master's qualification which is classed as either a taught, research, or professional master's - eg MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MRes, MEd, MMus, MDes etc
2. Full time master's courses, or courses which are ' fifty per cent' 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, BUT (for example) 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.
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.
Is there a student loan for a PhD?
For the latest details of the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan, see here.
What if I have more questions?
We will post updates on this page - we'd also suggest you talk to the universities you are applying to. And, to make sure you get regular updates on the loan and other master's funding, register now for our newsletter.
You can also check out the postgraduate loan video from Student Finance England