Postgraduate masters loans
You could qualify for a repayable postgraduate masters loan to help fund your studies.
- Loans are available to students studying eligible masters courses
- Students must be under 60 years old to be eligible
- The loans are non-means tested i.e. your income will not affect the amount you receive
- The majority of masters courses are eligible, but there are some exceptions
- Students with a previous masters qualification, or with an equivalent or higher level qualification, are not eligible
- Repayments will be calculated as 6% of income above £21,000
- The loans will attract interest of RPI+3%. This interest will accrue from the date of the first loan instalment
If you are starting your course in academic year 2020/21 you can borrow up to £11,222. The loans are intended to be a contribution to the costs of studying a postgraduate masters course.
A lower amount of loan is available if you are already registered on a course:
|Academic year||Maximum loan available|
The maximum amount of loan available to students who reside in the devolved nations may differ.
There is no minimum loan request amount and you can amend the amount of loan requested up to 1 month before the end of the academic year.
The Student Loans Company will pay your loan directly to you in three instalments per year of study. Each year’s amount will be paid in three instalments of 33%, 33% and 34%.
Payments will be made following confirmation from the University that you are in attendance and are on track to complete the course within its specified duration. Your payment dates will be confirmed on your Student Finance Notification Entitlement letter, which you can find on your online account.
If you are studying over 2 years or more you will receive half of your loan in your first year and half in your second year.
For courses starting in or after August 2017, if you are studying for 3 or 4 years your loan will be divided equally and paid each year of your course.
As part of the registration process you can decide to pay your fees in two, three or four instalments across the year.
You must be aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course to be eligible for the loan. The academic year is the period of 12 months starting on 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1t July (depending on when your course starts).
For example where a student starts a course on any date in August to December inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1 September. You must be aged under 60 on that date.
The loans can be used for eligible masters courses, in any subject, at any degree awarding UK institution. If you're not sure whether your course is eligible you should email email@example.com.
Courses eligible for funding will result in a masters qualification in any subject. Courses should be at Level 7 typically attracting 180 credits, with 150 of these at level 7, and result in a postgraduate masters qualification for example MA, MSc, MBA, MEd, MFA and LLM.
Courses must be either 1 or 2 years full-time in duration.
Courses may have an overseas element but this cannot exceed 50% of the total course.
Masters courses that are currently funded by the undergraduate support system, such as integrated masters and Masters of Architecture, will not be eligible. Neither will other postgraduate qualifications that do not result in a masters qualification, such as a postgraduate diploma.
The loans are available for postgraduate masters courses on a part-time study basis. Courses may be 2 to 4 years lasting no longer than twice the length of the full-time equivalent course.
Part-time courses may also be 3 years, where no full-time equivalent course exists.
For courses that started in September 2016 all payments will be made over the first two years of study where courses last more than 2 years.
For courses starting in or after August 2017 equal payments will be made across each year of the course.
Courses with a flexible duration may or may not be eligible depending on a number of criteria. If you are considering studying a course that can be completed in two, three or four years, contact our Student Registration Team to confirm whether you are eligible to apply for a masters loan.
Eligible courses may be delivered through distance learning.
You cannot use the loan to study a course in another country. If you are considering a course at an institution within Europe you may want to consider an Erasmus+ loan.
Students are not eligible for a postgraduate loan where they are eligible to apply for a healthcare bursary or are in receipt of a social work bursary from National Health Service, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety or Student Awards Agency Scotland.
The exception to this is the Masters Degree in Physician Associate Studies. Students on this course can apply for a Postgraduate Masters Loan and receive a £5,000 grant from Healthcare Education England.
Repeat years of study will generally not be funded (even where a previous postgraduate course was not completed, or less than the maximum loan amount was requested). A repeat year will only be funded where there is proof of compelling personal reasons for repeating an academic year.
Applications usually open in the June before you start your course.
You can apply up to 9 months after the first day of your course. If you are studying for 2 or more years you can apply up to 9 months after the first day of the second academic year of your course.
Postgraduate loans will be available to UK Nationals (and individuals with settled status in the UK) who have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years on the first day of the first academic year of your course. You must have been most recently resident in England, and must not have moved there from elsewhere in the UK and Islands solely for the purpose of education. Temporary absences from your home address, such as for education or travelling, will not prevent you being eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.
You may be eligible for a loan if you intend to study in England and are an EU national or family members of an EU national, or if you have residency status of a refugee, humanitarian protection, EEA migrant worker, child of a Swiss national or child of a Turkish worker.
The UK government has confirmed that EU students starting in September 2020 will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants - and will be for the duration of their course - even if the UK exits the European Union during that period. EU students starting from September 2021 will not be able to access this support.
If you are a UK national and have most recently been a resident in Scotland there are postgraduate loans available from Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). You can borrow up to £5,500 towards your fees and £4,500 towards your living costs (part-time students cannot access the living costs loan). Funding is only available for students to study in England for courses not available in Scotland. Further details can be found on the SAAS website.
If you are a UK national and have most recently been a resident in Northern Ireland there are postgraduate tuition fee loans available from Student Finance Northern Ireland. You can borrow up to £5,500 towards your tuition fees. Further information is available from the Student Finance Northern Ireland website.
UK nationals residing in Wales can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £17,489 for September 2020 entry. The repayment details of the loans have now been confirmed and can be found below. Further information is available from the Student Finance Wales website.
If you already hold a masters qualification, an equivalent level qualification or a higher level qualification you will not be eligible for the loan (this includes integrated masters). Qualifications obtained outside the UK will also be taken into account.
If you have already received a postgraduate loan for a masters course you will not be eligible for repeat funding, even where you haven't completed the course, unless you have compelling personal reasons for receiving repeat funding for a year of study.
The Department for Work and Pensions will include your loan when calculating any benefits you receive.
If you would like further guidance on the loan's impact on your benefits you should contact the Student Advice Centre in the Students' Union (0114 222 8660 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Loan repayments will commence the April after course completion and when you have an annual income of £21,000 or more. The threshold for repayments will be frozen until April 2021.
If you decide to live abroad after your course the repayment threshold applied will be based on the cost of living in your country of residence.
The masters loan repayment will be calculated at 6% of income above the £21,000 threshold. Repayments will be made concurrently, alongside repayment of any outstanding undergraduate student loan.
The loan's interest will be calculated at RPI+3%. This interest will accrue from the date the first loan instalment is paid.
The proposed repayment terms and interest rates are planned to be fixed until 2021 and subject to review.
Any outstanding balance will be written off 30 years after repayments are due to start.
If you have any questions about the postgraduate masters loans please contact email@example.com.