Postgraduate Loan Scheme
Worth up to £10,000 these repayable loans are available for most research and taught masters courses, for both full and part-time modes of study.
Impact of Brexit on government funding
Following the UK vote to leave the EU, Student Finance England has confirmed that the eligibility criteria for funding remains unchanged for EU nationals, or their family members, who will be starting a course at a university in England in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years. Students who are assessed as eligible to receive funding in the 2017-18 or 2018-19 academic years will be eligible for this funding for the duration of their course.
Postgraduate loans are available to eligible students as a general contribution towards the costs of studying. It's up to you to decide how to use the money, be it for living costs or tuition fees.
The information on this page is for students who started a postgraduate course in the 2016/17 academic year. It will be updated when arrangements for students starting a course in 2017/18 become clear.
In order to apply, you must:
- Have not achieved a masters qualification previously. Note that previous study on a masters course that was not completed may also affect eligibility.
- Begin your course in September 2016 or thereafter – loans will not be available to those who started masters courses before this date.
- Be studying in one of the following ways:
- Full-time, lasting 1 or 2 academic years, or
- Part-time, lasting 2 to 4 academic years and no more than twice the length of the equivalent full-time course, or
- Part-time for up to 3 years, where no equivalent full-time course exists, or
- Be resident in England while on a distance-learning course.
- Be under the age of 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course*.
- Meet nationality and residency requirements:
- You are a UK national or have ‘settled status’, (i.e. there are no restrictions on how long you can stay), and you normally live in England, and you’ve been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years before starting your course. Students from elsewhere in the UK and Islands who come to England to study a masters course will not be eligible and may wish to seek funding from their funding authority in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Guernsey, Jersey or Isle of Man.
- You are an EU national (but not a UK national), and you’re living in England on the first day of the first academic year of your course*, and 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 could also be eligible if you do not fit into one of the categories above, but your residency status is:
- Child of a Swiss national
- Child of a Turkish worker
- Refugee or a relative of one
- EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or a relative of one
- In humanitarian protection or a relative of someone who is.
*The first day of the first academic year of your course is considered to be 1 September for courses starting in September/October or 1 January for courses starting in January.
Receiving the loan
The loan is paid directly to the student and is intended to be a contribution towards costs of studying, which means it can be used for either fees or maintenance.
Instalments are paid 3 times a year at a rate of 33%, 33% and 34%. Student Finance England will send you a letter indicating estimated dates on which you will receive these.
- Students receive the first instalment shortly after their course start date and only after UAL has confirmed they have enrolled*.
- In the case of courses which last for any duration of more than 1 academic year, you would receive loan instalments spread over the first 2 academic years. If your course lasts more than 1 academic year, but less than 2 academic years, you will still receive instalments over a period of 2 full academic years, meaning that you may receive some instalments after the end of your course. Our 4-term courses starting in September and ending in December the following year are examples of such courses.
*Paying your tuition fee
Note that postgraduate students are required to either pay their whole year's tuition fee before they can enrol or to set up an instalment plan and pay the first instalment of their tuition fee before they are allowed to enrol. As students only receive their first instalment of Postgraduate Loan after they have enrolled, they must make provision to make the relevant payment prior to receiving their Postgraduate Loan.
See information about paying your tuition fee in instalments.
- The repayment period would begin in the April after the end of yourcourse, unless the course is over two academic years in duration, in which case the repayment period would begin in the April after the second academic year of the course.
- Repayments would be taken on a monthly basis, once earnings are over the £21,000 per annum threshold.
- The monthly repayment amount is 6% of your income which is in excess of the £21,000 per annum threshold.
- Repayments for the Postgraduate Loan would occur alongside, and in addition to, repayments for any Student Finance England loans taken out for undergraduate study (if any).
- You can choose to make voluntary repayments at any time and there are no financial penalties for doing so.
- The interest rate is set at 3.9% and will be charged as of the first repayment. The interest rate may be subject to change.
When to apply
Students are encouraged to apply as soon as the application system opens, so that they receive confirmation of their loan to present when enrolling onto their course, and so that they receive their first instalment shortly after enrolling. A confirmed place on a course is not required in order to apply.
The application system usually opens in spring/summer each year, for students starting a course in the subsequent academic year:
- Courses starting in 2016/17: Open
- Courses starting in 2017/18: Not yet open
How to apply
Applications can be made through the online service or by downloading a paper form on the UK Government website, where full details of the process, required supporting evidence, and documentation can be found.
Finding your course in the online application form
If your full-time course is of a duration of over 1 year, you must indicate that your course has a duration of 2 years in the Postgraduate Loan online application form. See the Receiving the loan section above for the relevance of this.
Student Finance England have a range of resources about the Postgraduate Loan:
- Introduction to Postgraduate Loans (PDF 75KB)
- How to apply for a Postgraduate Loan (PDF 81KB)
- Repaying your Postgraduate Loan (PDF 77KB)
The Student Advice Service is available to provide further information and support on financial matters related to your course.