Postgraduate Master’s Loan Scheme
Value of award
Maximum of £10,000 (2016 entry) or £10,280 (2017 entry)
The UK government's Postgraduate Master's Loan Scheme is available for 2016 and 2017 entry:
- The Loan is non means-tested and is considered as a contribution towards your tuition fees and living expenses.
- It will be available to students under the age of 60.
- If you already have a Master’s level qualification (including an integrated Master's), an equivalent qualification or a higher level qualification, you will not be eligible to receive the Master’s Student Loan. This applies even if your previous qualification was entirely self-funded and/or achieved outside the UK.
- If you already have a lower postgraduate qualification, such as a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate, you will be eligible to receive the loan if you choose to undertake a standalone Master’s course.
- Taught and research Master’s courses in all disciplines (online and campus-based) will normally be eligible, eg MA, MSc, MRes, MEd, MBA, LLM, MPhil, MLitt, MFA.
- You will not be entitled to receive the Postgraduate Loan if you are eligible to apply for a healthcare bursary* from any of the following organisations:
- National Health Service (NHS)
- Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS)
- Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)
*This includes students studying a Master’s degree during their intercalating year of study.
- Doctoral degrees (eg PhD, EngD, Integrated PhDs), PG Certificates, PG Diplomas, PGCE’s and Master’s courses that are currently funded by the undergraduate support system, eg Master of Architecture (MArch), will not be eligible for the Loan.
- You will not be eligible for the Postgraduate Loan if you are studying towards top-up credits to a gain a Master’s qualification after studying a PG Certificate or PG Diploma.
Eligible course durations
- A full-time course lasting one or two academic years.
- A part-time course lasting two to four academic years (up to twice as long as the equivalent full-time course). These part-time courses must be (on average) at least 50% intensity of a full-time course (for example, Year 1 could be 30% intensity and Year 2 could be 70% intensity).
- A three-year part-time course that does not have a full-time equivalent.
Non-eligible course durations
- A three-year part-time Master’s course that is equivalent to a one-year full-time course.
- Four-year or five-year part-time Master’s courses that are equivalent to a one-year full-time course or that have no full-time course equivalent.
- Repayments will be income-contingent and made concurrently with undergraduate loans.
- Repayments will be calculated at 6% of annual income over £21,000 and this income repayment threshold will be frozen until April 2021. If you are paying from overseas, a different threshold may be applied based on your cost of living and country of residence.
- Repayments will not commence until 6 April following the academic year in which you complete your course or 6 April 2019 if repayments are made through HMRC.
- Interest will be calculated at Retail Prices Index (RPI) + 3%.
Administration and payment of the Loan
- The Loan will be issued by the Student Loans Company.
- You will receive the Master’s Student Loan in three equal instalments across the academic year that will be paid directly into your bank account (UK account only).
Payment 1: Course start date
Payment 2: 4 months after the course start month (last Wednesday of the month)
Payment 3: 7 months after the course start month (last Wednesday of the month)
- No payments will be released until you have supplied a valid National Insurance Number (if you have one).
- There is no minimum loan request amount. You can amend the amount of loan requested up to one month before the end of the academic year, but you cannot request less than has been paid.
- Payment for part time students will only be in the first and second year of your course.
- You must be a UK national, or have a settled status in the UK, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years on the first day of the academic year of your course start date.
- You must have most recently been resident in England and must not have moved from elsewhere in the UK and Islands solely for the purposes of attending the course.
- You will still be eligible for the Loan if you’ve had temporary absences from your home address, such as for education and travelling.
- If you are ordinarily resident in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland you will not be eligible for the loan
- You may be eligible if you are an EU national or family member of an EU national, or hold other specific statuses (eg have refugee residency status or are an EEA migrant worker).
Eligible EU students will still be able to apply for the Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the Student Loans Company for 2016 and 2017 entry. Future funding arrangements with the EU will be determined as part of the UK’s discussions on its membership.
How to apply
The quickest and easiest way for you to apply is online. You can only make an application for the 16/17 academic year. The 17/18 application cycle has not opened yet.
If you are looking for more information, you can visit Student Finance England’s student finance zone, The Student Room, which has been updated with a dedicated Postgraduate Loan section including answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Student Finance England has also produced a series of quick guides and films covering:
- An introduction to Postgraduate Loans
- How to apply for a Postgraduate Loan
- Repaying your Postgraduate Loan
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