Everything You Need to Know About Postgraduate Master Degree Loans
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In the summer of 2016, the government introduced a £10,000 postgraduate loan which has now been increased to £10,609, for the academic year of 2018/19 onwards. Here’s a list of the latest FAQs to help you find out exactly what you need to know.
Are postgraduate loans just for full-time courses?
No, whether you’re looking to apply for a full-time or part-time course, the government has put the postgraduate loan option in place to support students throughout further education.
Will I still be eligible for a postgraduate loan if I’ve already had a student loan for an undergraduate degree?
Yes, the postgraduate loan was introduced to help students further their studies from undergraduate-level to Masters.
What can the loan be used for?
The loan is offered by the government as a contribution to fund a Masters programme. However, unlike a regular student loan, the payments are made into a student’s bank account, a bit like a monthly income. A student chooses how this money is spent, whether that’s directly to the programme, or put towards accommodation and living costs.
Is the loan enough to cover a Masters?
The postgraduate loan should be sufficient to fund your Masters programme. However, we can’t guarantee whether the loan would be enough to also fund living costs and accommodation. You will have the responsibility of budgeting your money accordingly and prioritising where it should be spent.
Can I borrow less than £10,609?
Yes, the £10,609 postgraduate loan isn’t a fixed loan. It’s just the maximum amount you can borrow. If you require less than that amount then you will be able to do so.
Can I change the amount I have borrowed if needed?
Yes, from the first day you started your academic year, you have up to 9 months to be able to change the amount you have decided to borrow. This will need to be done via a loan request form as this cannot be changed online.
Is the eligibility for a postgraduate loan based on income or savings?
No, the eligibility for postgraduate loans is not based around your income or savings. Unlike a bank loan, there doesn’t need to be proof that you will be able to pay it back. The postgraduate loan is there to support students further their careers by taking up additional qualifications.
Is there a separate loan for maintenance?
No, the postgraduate loan is there to fund the costs of the programme and to manage living costs and accommodation if necessary. If you are relying on the postgraduate loan for maintenance, you will need to budget accordingly.
Can I still apply for the postgraduate loan if I don’t have a good credit score?
Yes, the eligibility for the loan isn’t based around credit scores. The only credit interference you could encounter is if you had previously taken out a student loan for an undergraduate degree and had issues with loan repayments. In this case you would need to speak with Student Finance England to try and get the problem resolved.
Will the postgraduate loan affect any benefits I receive?
Yes, a postgraduate loan could potentially have an impact on any welfare support you receive as unlike undergraduate loans, the money is paid directly into your bank account instead of a university. If you are receiving benefits and are looking to apply for a postgraduate loan, the best option would be to discuss this with Student Finance England or your benefits provider.
Can I still receive Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) if I have a postgraduate loan?
Yes, the DSA is different to any other financial support you could be receiving and will not in any way be affected by a postgraduate loan.
Does an age limit apply?
Yes, the postgraduate loan is offered to people up to the age of 60. If you’re already 60 years old and wish to apply for a postgraduate loan, you can be eligible providing you’ll remain the same age on the start date of your first academic year.
I already have a postgraduate qualification, can I still apply for a loan to do a Masters?
You will only be entitled to a postgraduate loan if the qualification you hold is below Masters level such as a postgraduate certificate or diploma. The postgraduate loan is only used for full Masters programmes not to progress an existing postgraduate qualification.
Can students apply for the postgraduate loan if they’re from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?
The government introduced the postgraduate loan for English students. However, if a student is from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and can prove they are resident in England, they should be entitled to the postgraduate loan.
Are EU students entitled to the postgraduate loan?
Yes, providing the student can prove that they have been living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland for at least three years prior to the beginning of the course, they should be eligible. However, the loan is used to study a Masters at a university in England. This can either be on-campus or distance learning options.
Will Brexit affect EU eligibility?
As of yet, no. EU students will still be eligible for student loans until the UK has officially left the UK which will not be expected to happen until 2019 at its earliest. In the meantime, postgraduate loans will still be available to EU students for the 2018/19 academic year.
Are international students outside of the EU eligible for a postgraduate loan?
A postgraduate loan is not available to international students outside of the EU. You will only be eligible if you’re a UK or EU citizen.
How are the postgraduate loans paid?
Your postgraduate loan will be divided into instalments across the full length of your course and paid into a UK bank account. The number of instalments you receive is dependent on the amount you decide to take out and the length of your course.
What happens if I don’t complete my Masters?
Payments are subject to confirmation of attendance which is provided by your university. The loan payments will cease if you exit the programme early. However, you will still be liable to repay the amount you have borrowed.
What is the current interest rate on postgraduate loans?
The current interest rate is 6.1%. This is based on the Retail Price Index (RPI) of 1.6% plus 3%.
Will the interest rate change?
The interest rate on postgraduate loans will change if the RPI figure is updated.
How much do you need to earn to start paying back the postgraduate loan?
You will need to be earning £21,000+ per annum to start making the loan repayments. The government has decided to raise the repayment threshold for undergraduate student loans to £25,000+, however, this will not be applying to postgraduate programmes.
The information contained in this blog is provided represents the facts as understood at the time of publication in June 2018. Please be aware that future changes to this information as possible, and that responsibility is with the individual to check the most updated information before committing to study. For the most up-to-date information, please visit: Gov.uk/masters-loan