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Government-funded postgraduate loans

If your course starts on or after 1 August 2020 a loan of up to £11,222 is available to home postgraduate students under the age of 60. Being eligible for these loans is not dependent on your household income or job status.

Students studying a one or two-year full-time course, or a part-time course with a minimum 50% intensity rate are eligible for funding. If the student is studying a two year full-time course on a part-time basis, payments will be made over the first two academic years. If the course is longer than two years, then payments will be spread across all years of study.

Loans are available for taught and research based Master's programmes. Qualifying students can attend an eligible course anywhere in the UK or study by distance learning in England.

Apply online at gov.uk

Please note: postgraduate government loans are not available to international students or to those studying for either a PGDip or PGCert.


Eligibility

Whether you qualify depends on:

  • your course
  • your age
  • your nationality or residency status

You will not be able to get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan if:

  • you’re already getting payments from Student Finance England for another course that you’re studying
  • you’ve received a loan or grant for a master’s course before - unless you got Disabled Student Allowances or you left your course for a serious personal reason like illness or bereavement
  • you already have a master’s degree, or a qualification that’s equivalent or higher
  • you’re behind in repayments for any previous loans from the Student Loans Company

You’ll still be eligible if you have a PGCE or a postgraduate diploma or certificate.

You will not get extra money if you repeat a year of your course.

Further detail about the eligibility criteria as available on the government website.


Payment

There is no minimum loan amount and students can amend the amount of loan requested up to one month before the end of the academic year. The amendment request amount cannot be less than has been paid.

You get the first payment after your course start date, once your university or college confirms that you’ve registered.

The loan will be paid in three instalments of 33%, 33% and 34% each year. After your application has been approved, you’ll be sent a letter with your payment dates. You can also check them in your online account.


Repayment

Loans are paid back concurrently with any other student loans and repayments vary on an income basis.

The repayment rate is 6% of annual income over £21,000. The threshold for borrowers repaying from overseas will be based on the cost of living in their country of residence. Thresholds will be frozen until 2021.

Repayments will begin in April in the following academic year from which the course is completed (or following withdrawal, where this applies). Borrowers are charged interest set at RPI + 3% (Retail Price Index).

Any remaining postgraduate loan debt will written-off after 30 years from the date that the loan repayments begin.


Change of circumstances

Transfers

Transfers between eligible Master's programmes are permitted. The new Higher Education Provider must notify the Student Loans Company of the transfer before any future payments are made to the student.

Repeating a year of study

Repeat years are generally not funded. A repeat year will only be funded where the student can prove compelling personal reasons for repeating an academic year.

Withdrawals

The Student Loans Company should be notified about any withdrawal immediately. Any payments made to the student after they leave study will be treated as a loan overpayment.