Masters Loan Scheme Announcement - Key Points
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 has confirmed plans for £10,000 Masters loans in 2017. Further information is available here
A postgraduate tuition fee loan for Northern Ireland students is expected to be available for the academic year 2017/18. Find out more here.
Wales is planning to introduce postgraduate loans for the academic year 2017/18. Find out more here.
The NEW Master's Loan Scheme - Key Points
Here are the latest updates and key points about the postgraduate loan from Student Finance England.
About the Loan
You can now apply to borrow up to £10,000 to help you undertake an eligible postgraduate Master’s 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 and you must not have moved to England from elsewhere in the UK and Islands in order to undertake the course.
2. EU students applying for a place at English universities for the academic year 2017/18 will be eligible for loans and grants, government ministers have confirmed. More details can be found here. You may also qualify if you have refugee status.
3. You must be under 60 years old.
4. Eligibility is not based on income - the loan is not means tested.
IMPORTANT: If you meet the criteria above, you'll find the loan is portable, ie you CAN use your postgraduate loan to study for a master's course in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. You CANNOT take the loan outside the UK to study in other EU countries.
Who DOES NOT qualify 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 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.
IMPORTANT: If you are taking your course in 2016/17 you will not start repayments until April 2019, do you get an extra year before you have to start repaying the loan.
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?
A PhD loan has been announced in the 2015 budget. The government ran a public consultation in late 2016. For the latest details of the proposed 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