Studying a masters degree is a big undertaking. You should research your course options and consider how you will cover the cost of your tuition fees, as well as additional maintenance fees throughout your studies. In some instances scholarships, bursaries and sponsorships are available to students who are eligible but the postgraduate loan now provides more students with access to higher education.
What is a Postgraduate Loan?
A Postgraduate Master’s Loan is provided by the UK Government to eligible students to assist with the cost of course and living costs while studying a postgraduate programme at university.
How much can you get from a postgraduate loan?
UK and EU Settled students are able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan of up to £11,570, depending on when your course began. UCAS currently states that the average cost of a masters degree is £11,000 a year, which makes this a considerable contribution to the overall cost of a course.
Unlike undergraduate tuition loans, the funds are paid directly to you, not your university. To be use for your course fees as well as your living costs, as you wish. If your course lasts for more than 1 year, the loan will be equally split across the total years.
If you have studied a masters before, or you are already receiving payment from Student Finance England (SFE) you are not eligible.
The most critical factors that will determine whether you qualify for a loan are:
- the course you wish to study
- your age when you begin your studies
- your nationality or residency status
These requirements are explained in more detail on the Government website.
Student Finance England states that all EU students who have pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or who have lived in the EU for at least three years prior to the first day of your course can apply for the Loan.
Full guidance is available on the UK Government website.
The plan is very similar to the UK undergraduate finance scheme. You will pay 6% of your income over the threshold every month. The thresholds currently stand at £403 a week or £17,50 a month before tax and other deductions.
If you were a UK undergraduate, this is on top of the 9% you pay back on your undergraduate loan, although only on the income you earn over the threshold.
Currently, a rate of 5.3% interest is paid on Postgraduate Loans. The rate is the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3%. Therefore, this can change depending on RPI in the future so it is important to check this before committing to a Postgraduate Loan.
All of this information and more can be found on the UK Government website. For more information on Postgraduate Loans and help with your application, contact our Student Support team.