Postgraduate Study Loan - England

Postgraduate Study Loan (England)

The UK government, via Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCW) has introduced a new postgraduate loan scheme for Masters degrees, which will also be available for the 2017/2018 academic session. The loan will be a contribution towards the costs of study and it will be at the student's discretion to use the loan towards fees, maintenance costs, or other costs. Students must be domiciled in England (see below)

Please note that this is a devolved issue and the Welsh Government has not decided whether to replicate this loan scheme for Wales-domciled students. The Welsh Government already funds the Fee Grant for Wales-domiciled students to undertake undergraduate study. 

The information below is based on information that has already been released by the UK Government and Student Loans Company (SLC). Further details and clarification on eligibility criteria and the application process is still being released, so we recommend that you continue to check these pages for further updates. 

The key facts

  • You can apply for a loan up to the value of £10,280 (for 2017-2018).
  • The loan is available for Masters degrees (for example: MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MPhil and MRes) in all subject areas.
  • The loan is available for full-time, part-time (subject to a minimum 50% intensity requirement) and (fixed-length) distance learning courses (subject to certain conditions including a minimum 50% intensity requirement).
  • Any postgraduate loan balance is repayable and includes interest charged.

Eligibility overview* 

  • The loan is available to UK nationals and those with settled status in the UK who have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years on the first day of their course. Students must be normally and most recently resident in England and not moved there from elsewhere in the UK and Islands just to study (three years' address history will be required at application stage). Temporary absences abroad for study or travel should not impact on eligibility for a postgraduate loan.
  • A postgraduate loan will also be available if you are an EU student who has been ordinarily resident in the EEA / Switzerland for the three years prior to the first academic year start date.
  • You may also be eligible if you have the residency status of: refugee; humanitarian protection; EEA or Swiss migrant worker; a family member of any of the previous categories, or are a child of a Swiss national or child of a Turkish worker.
  • You must be under the age of 60 at the start of the first academic year of your course.
  • Eligible courses must start on or after 1 August 2017. 
  • Eligible UK students can attend an eligible course anywhere in the UK or study an eligible distance learning course while resident in England. 
  • Eligible EU students must be attending a course being delivered in England, or be undertaking a distance learning course delivered in England. Therefore, they are not eligible for the courses provided by Aberystwyth University. 
  • Students who already hold a Masters qualification (or an equivalent or higher-level qualification) will not be eligible for the loan.

* Please note that this is subject to eligibility criteria as set out by Student Finance England.

 

Students from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland

If you are Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish, but normally live in England, you will be able to apply for a postgraduate loan (subject to meeting all of the eligibility criteria). 

Separate schemes wil be introduced for students domciled in Wales and in Northern Ireland. 

What if I study a part-time course?

If your course is longer than one year you can get up to £5,000 in your first year and the rest in your second year. If you're studying part time you can only get payments in the first two years of your course, even if it lasts for three or four years.

Are distance-learning Masters courses eligible?

Please note that our distance-learning Masters courses are designed to be flexible and studied between 2 and 5 years. Most students are in employment and take at least 4 years to complete. 

The University would have to report to the SLC on the attendance and intensity of study of each student receiving a PG Study Loan. As we cannot guarantee that students would be able to complete within the 2-year period and hence meet the minimum 50% study intensity required by the SLC, our current distance-learning Masters courses are not eligible for these loans. 

Can I receive a loan to study a PGCert or PGDip?

No. Postgraduate loans are only available for full Masters degree programmes.

Can I receive a postgraduate loan to study a PGCE?

No. Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Teacher Training courses are not eligible for Masters loans. It may be possible to fund certain courses through Student Finance using a similar system to undergraduate degrees.

What if I want to study a postgraduate research course?

You can now receive a loan to study a postgraduate research programme, provided it awards a Masters degree and lasts no longer than two years full time. This may include MPhil and LLM by Research programmes, but will not cover PhD degrees.

Can I receive a loan to study outside the UK?

If you are a UK national, you can receive a postgraduate loan to attend an eligible course in the UK or study an eligible distance learning course while resident in England.

You can still receive a loan to study a Masters that includes an overseas placement or exchange, provided this does not account for more than 50% of your course.

Can I combine a Masters loan with other funding or finance?

Yes, in principle. Receiving other postgraduate funding or finance should have no impact on your eligibility for a postgraduate Masters loan. This is because the loans are not means-tested (as above).

How will the loan be paid to me?

Loan payments will be made directly to students by the Student Loan Company. You will then be responsible for using the money to meet tuition fees and other expenses as you see fit. The loan is paid in three instalments across the academic year. You will receive the first instalment of your loan payment when the university confirms your attendance on your course.

How would my repayments be arranged?

 

  • Repayment of your postgraduate loan is on an income-contingent basis.
  • You won't start making repayments until you're earning over the current threshold of £404 a week, £1,750 a month or £21,000 a year.
  • Repayments will be set at 6% of your annual income over £21,000.
  • Loans will be subject to an interest rate of RPI+3%.
  • If you're studying full time you'll start making repayments the April after you finish or leave your course. If you're studying part time, you'll start making repayments the April two years after the start of your course or the April after you finish or leave your course, whichever comes first. However, for courses commencing in 2016/17, you will not be required to make repayments until April 2019.
  • Any outstanding postgraduate loan will be written off after 30 years.

I have a student loan for my UG studies

If you've had any other loans from the Student Loans Company for your undergraduate course, you'll also repay these loans.

For example, if you took a loan for your undergraduate course that started after 1 September 2012, you'll repay 9% of your income over £21,000 towards that loan and 6% of your income over £21,000 towards your postgraduate loan. So you'll repay 15% of your income over the threshold in total.

Cessation of or failure to complete Masters

Payment of your postgraduate loan will be subject to confirmation of attendance provided by the University. Loan instalments will cease if you exit your programme early, do not study at 50% intensity or transfer to a different course that is not eligible for a Masters loan. You would still have to re-pay what you have borrowed from the SLC. 

How do I apply?

Bookmark and regularly check the UK Government's student finance website and Student Finance England's social media channels for the latest postgraduate loan information and details of how to apply. See also information available on the SLC's website