A loan is available from the Government for applicants to postgraduate master's degrees. The loan is non-means tested and can be used towards tuition fees, maintenance costs or a combination of both.
If you have been unsuccessful in securing funding though a scholarship, bursary or grant you might want to consider applying for a loan to help fund your postgraduate studies.
The opening of applications for the 2021-22 academic year, along with the value of the loan from August 2021, will be published on the government's website for student finance once announced.
For entry in the 2020-21 academic year, the value of the loan was up to £11,222. Applications usually take between four to six weeks to be processed.
In order to be eligible for the loan you should ordinarily meet the following criteria:
- You must be a UK national or have settled status in the UK
- You must be ordinarily resident in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years before starting your course
- You must be aged under 60 years on the first day of the first academic year of the course
- You must be studying for your first Masters qualification.
You may also be eligible under certain circumstances relating to your personal status. We recommend reading the full details of eligibility on the government website.
Prospective students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland who plan to begin their studies in the UK after August 2021 must have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to qualify. This requirement doesn't apply if you're an Irish national. See our Brexit and European nationals page for more information.
The course you are studying must meet the following criteria:
- Your course must be a postgraduate master's course (MSc, MA, MBA, MRes)
- Full-time master's courses can be one year or two years duration
- Part-time master's courses must have a minimum of 50% intensity per year and last no more than four years
- Courses may have an overseas element but this cannot exceed 50% of the total course.
Postgraduate pre-registration MSc courses in the School of Health Sciences are eligible for the same type of loan as undergraduate courses, available from the Student Loans Company.
Where master's courses are currently funded through the undergraduate support system (such as an integrated master's degree at undergraduate entry) are not eligible.
Postgraduate Diploma courses are not eligible.
The postgraduate loan is paid in three equal instalments:
- First payment: shortly after course registration
- Second payment: four months after the month your course started (on the last Wednesday of the month)
- Third payment: seven months after the month your course started (on the last Wednesday of the month).
Repayments will start the April after you finish or leave your course, only your income is over a threshold for repayment.
Currently the repayment threshold is £21,000 a year (or £1,750 a month or £404 a week) before tax and National Insurance. The repayment amount is 6% of the difference between the threshold and your actual earnings.
Interest will be charged on the loan at the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3% and will be accrued from the date of the first payment to the point when your loan has been either fully repaid or cancelled.
Further repayment details are published on The Student Room website.