Last updated on 1/3/2017 Print this page
A system of postgraduate loans for Masters Degrees in the
UK was introduced from the 2016/17 academic year. They
will provide up to £10,000 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 degrees in all disciplines and subject areas will be
- 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
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,
- Last no longer than 2 years full time or 4 years part
- 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
Do part-time students receive the same loan amount?
Yes, but your loan will be divided equally across the first two
years of your programme. Even if your programme lasts longer than
two years, you will receive your full loan entitlement across the
first two years of your programme.
I’m an EU student, will I be eligible for a postgraduate
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
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
I’m a student from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, can I
receive a postgraduate loan?
The loans are intended for English students. However,
eligibility for postgraduate loans is based on English-residency,
not English-nationality. If you are Scottish, Welsh and Northern
Irish, but normally live in England, you will be able to receive a
loan. In order to be eligible you must have been ordinarily
resident in the UK for at least three years on the first day of the
academic year in which your course begins.
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.
Will the loans cover the full cost of studying for a Masters
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 £10,000 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 £10,000.
Do I have to borrow the full £10,000?
No, the £10,000 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
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
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.