Postgraduate study loans

Apply online

From late June you can apply for your loan online at www.gov.uk/postgraduateloan.

From the 2016/17 academic year, the Government will provide a loan of up to £10,000 per student for postgraduate Masters-level study. Part-time students studying over two years can access £5,000 in the first year and the rest of the loan in the second year.

The loan is a contribution towards the costs of study, it's your choice how much to borrow and whether to use the loan for tuition fees, living costs or other costs.

How to apply for a postgraduate loan

Applications will be open from late June 2016, look out for announcements on our website and twitter feed.

You don't need to wait until you have accepted a place on a course, you can update the university and course details at a later date.

The application will be available online at www.gov.uk/postgraduateloan. You'll be asked to enter details of your valid UK passport.

Once you've completed your application you'll need to sign and return a declaration form. You'll receive a letter confirming the amount of loan and the payment dates, which are three times over the year. However, you must register at university before you can receive any money.

Eligibility for UK nationals

You must be a UK National (or have settled status in the UK) who has been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years on the first day of the first academic year of the course.

You must have been most recently resident in England, and must not have moved to England from elsewhere in the UK and Islands solely for the purpose of attending the course.

Temporary absences from a home address in England, such as moving to Wales or Scotland for education, or travelling overseas, won’t affect your eligibility.

Eligibility for EU nationals and other residency status

You may be eligible if you are an EU national, a child of a Swiss national or child of a Turkish worker.

You may be eligible if you have the residency status of: refugee, humanitarian protection, EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or have a family member in any of these categories.

General criteria affecting eligibility

The FindAMasters website provides details of the courses eligible for postgraduate loans. Please note that integrated Masters (eg. the MEng or MSci), Postgraduate Certificates, including the PGCE, and Postgraduate Diplomas are not eligible courses.

You must be aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of the course.

The academic year is the period of twelve months starting on 1st September, 1st January, 1st April or 1st July. For example, if you begin a course on any date from August to December 2016, the first day of the academic year is taken as 1st September 2016. You must be aged under 60 on that date. There isn't a lower age limit.

You won’t be eligible for a postgraduate loan if you are in arrears for a previous student loan or have previously been found to be ‘unfit’ for student support.

You won’t be eligible if you already hold:

This applies even if the previous qualification was entirely self-funded or an award from outside the UK.

Any lower level qualifications held may not affect eligibility for PGL. If the applicant holds a postgraduate Initial Teacher Training (ITT) qualification (i.e. a PGCE), a postgraduate certificate or a postgraduate diploma (or an overseas equivalent), this will not make them ineligible for PGL. Note, however, that PGL will only be available where the student is undertaking a full stand alone Master’s course, not a partial Master’s course requiring a lesser number of credits, either as a result of the student’s previous study or experience.

Key facts

Repayment information

Loans will usually start to be repaid from the April after the course ends and when you are earning over £21,000 per year, similar to the undergraduate loan scheme. To allow the SLC and HMRC time to develop the postgraduate loan scheme, repayment for the first cohort will be delayed until April 2019.

Postgraduate loans will be repaid at the same time and using the same method as undergraduate loans. Repayment rates for postgraduate loans will be at 6% of income above a salary earning £21,000 per year.

More sources of information

Download the presentation from a recent talk on postgraduate loans by the UK Student Recruitment Team: postgraduate loans presentation (PDF, 2,239kB).

Detailed Q&A documents can be found on the SLC website.

A useful list of frequently asked questions is available from FindAMasters.com.

Student Finance England have produced a range of resources to help introduce the new Postgraduate Loans:

Loans for PhD study

The Government announced student loans for PhD study in the 2016 Budget. Loans of up to £25,000 will be introduced in 2018. More detailed information is yet to be announced, however, you can find a useful list of frequently asked questions on the FindaPhD website.