Student finance for postgraduate loans

Relevant to
If you’re starting a postgraduate master’s course in 2016/17, a new postgraduate loan will soon be available to help you financially.
 
Can I apply for a postgraduate loan?
 
You can apply for a postgraduate loan if:
  • you’re studying a taught or research master’s course
  • you’re studying at a university or college, or by distance learning
  • you’re under the age of 60 on the first day of your course
Please note, you can’t get a postgraduate loan for postgraduate level courses, such as PgCert (Postgraduate Certificate), PgDip (Postgraduate Diploma), or where the postgraduate course is funded by undergraduate student finance, such as:
  • Initial Teacher Training (ITT)/ Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
  • an integrated master’s
Can I study part-time?
 
Yes – if you’re studying part-time, you can study for two years (for the equivalent one year full-time course) or up to four years (for the equivalent two year full-time course). If you’re studying part-time, you can only get payments for the first two years of your course, although three years may be available if a full-time equivalent is not available.
 
I’m an EU national, am I eligible?
 
Yes – if you’re an EU national, but don’t normally live in England, you may be able to get a postgraduate loan for a master’s course that you’re studying in England.
 
What can I apply for?
 
You can apply for a loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards your course and/or living costs.
If your course is longer than one year, you can get up to £5,000 in your first year and the rest in your second year. The loan will be paid into your UK bank account in three instalments during the academic year.
 
If you have a disability, including a mental health condition or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, you might be eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA). These don’t have to be paid back.
 
I have received student finance for a previous qualification. Am I still eligible?
 
Yes – having a loan from a previous qualification (such as an undergraduate course) won’t affect your eligibility for a postgraduate loan. However, you can only get a postgraduate loan if you don’t already have a master’s qualification or a higher level qualification like a PhD.
 
If you take a postgraduate loan for one course but don’t complete the course, you won’t be able to get a second postgraduate loan. If you have to repeat your course for compelling personal reasons, such as illness, you may be able to apply for additional funding to allow you to repeat the course.
 
How do I apply?
 
You can apply from late June 2016 at www.gov.uk/postgraduateloan.
You don’t need to have a confirmed place on a course to apply, as you can use the details of
your preferred course and update them later if they change. 
 
Before you start your application, you should have the following to hand:
  • valid UK passport details (if you have one)
  • preferred university and course details
You’ll also need your UK bank account details (eight digit account number and six digit sort code), UK National Insurance number, and your address history for the previous three years.
 
Once you start your application, you can save it and go back to it later at any time.
 
How do I get paid?
You have to register at university and start your course before we can make the first payment.
The postgraduate loan will be paid directly into your UK bank account. It can take two or three days for the payment to reach your account, depending on your bank, and you’ll receive three instalments throughout the academic year.
 
Do I have to repay the loan?
 
Yes – repayments are based on your income, not what you borrowed.
 
Interest is charged at the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3% from the day we make the first payment to you, until your postgraduate loan is repaid in full or written off.
 
You can make a voluntary repayment towards your postgraduate loan at any time.
 
For more information on postgraduate loans, visit www.gov.uk/postgraduateloan.
 
Thank you Mark for all your help! If you have any funding questions or concerns, you can ask Student Finance England on Twitter and Facebook.