Money Matters

Postgraduate Loans

A system of postgraduate loans for Masters Degrees in the UK was introduced from the 2016/17 academic year. They will provide up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas.

Here are the key facts:

  • The loans will be available for both taught and research Masters programmes.
  • Masters degrees in all disciplines and subject areas will be covered.
  • Loans are not means-tested.
  • Postgraduate loans will be available for full-time, part-time and distance learning Masters programmes (providing part-time courses are at least 50% of the intensity of an equivalent full-time course).
  • Students aged under 60 will be eligible.
  • Loans will be subject to an interest rate of RPI+3%, and repayments will not begin until 2019.
  • Repayments will be income-contingent and made concurrently with undergraduate loans. Rates will be set at 6% of annual income over £21,000.




How do I apply?

You can apply online or by downloading an application form from


What can I receive a postgraduate loan to study?

Postgraduate loans will be available for all Masters Degrees at UK universities. For a course to be eligible it must:

  • Be a postgraduate programme, completed after an undergraduate degree (and not part of a longer, four year, undergraduate Masters).
  • Last no longer than 2 years full time or 4 years part time.
  • Award a full Master’s degree qualification (Postgraduate Certificates and Postgraduate Diplomas are not eligible).

Can I receive a loan to study an MBA?

Yes. All taught, research and professional Masters programmes are eligible for the postgraduate loans, including MBA courses.

Can I receive a postgraduate loan to study a PGCE?

Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) courses are not eligible for Masters loans. There are separate funding arrangements for PGCE students, including a generous bursary.

Do part-time students receive the same loan amount?

Yes, but your loan will be divided equally across your programme.

I’m an EU student, will I be eligible for a postgraduate loan?

Yes, providing you have been resident in the EU for at least three years prior to the beginning of your course. Periods of residency that are purely for the purpose of education will not count towards this three year requirement.

I'm an international student, can I apply for a postgraduate loan?

Under normal circumstances, Masters loans will not be available to international students in the UK. In order to be eligible you will need to be a UK national or EU citizen. Exceptions may apply if you have the right to reside permanently in the UK. This could be the result of refugee status or other humanitarian protection.

I’m a student from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, can I receive a postgraduate loan?

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own postgraduate loan schemes.

I already have a Masters degree, can I apply for a loan to study in a different subject area?

No. The primary aim of the new loans is to broaden access to postgraduate education by those who have not yet been able to study for a Masters degree.


Payment Terms

Will the loans cover the full cost of studying for a Masters degree?

The government is offering loans as ‘a contribution to the cost of an eligible postgraduate Masters qualification’. You can use a loan for tuition fees, living costs and other study expenses as you see fit. The £10,280 maximum amount should cover tuition fees for most taught Master programmes. However, it may not cover all of the accommodation and living costs you will incur whilst completing a postgraduate degree. Some Masters courses may also cost more than £10,280.

Do I have to borrow the full £10,280?

No, the £10,280 is the maximum amount you can borrow, but you won't have to borrow this much. You can borrow a smaller amount to cover fees (or living costs) if you wish.

Can I receive a postgraduate loan in addition to Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)?

Yes. Your entitlement to Disabled Students’ Allowance is distinct from any other financial support you receive. You can claim DSA in addition to a postgraduate loan.

How will the loan be paid?

Loan payments will be made directly to students by the Student Loan Company. You will then be responsible for paying your tuition fees to the university.

You will receive the first instalment of your loan payment when your university confirms attendance on your course.



What will happen if I cease to study or fail to complete my Masters?

Payment of your postgraduate loan will be subject to confirmation of attendance provided by your institution. Loan instalments will cease if you exit your programme early or transfer to a different course that is not eligible for a Masters loan. If you exit your programme early you will still be liable for your loan and must repay any amount you have borrowed as normal.

What does ‘RPI+3%’ mean?

RPI stands for ‘Retail Price Index.’ It is an annual percentage measure of inflation, based on the price of goods and services in the UK. Interest rates for the postgraduate Masters loans are to be set at RPI+3%. This means that the interest charged on the balance of your loan will be the current RPI percentage, plus an additional 3%.

Will the terms for repayments and interest rates change?

The proposed repayment terms and interest rates are planned to be fixed for a minimum period of five years. Repayment thresholds and interest rates should stay the same until 2021.

Will I have to repay the loan in full?

Your student loan debt will be cancelled after 30 years if you haven't paid it off in full, but the majority of graduates will already have repaid by this point.

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