Postgraduate Master’s Loan explained 2018/19

Thinking of starting a postgraduate Master’s course this year? You could get help to pay for your course and living costs. This film explains what you can get.

0
627
Advertisement

If you’re starting a full-time or part-time taught or research master’s course, you could get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan.

The Postgraduate Master’s Loan is to help with your course and living costs while you’re studying, and has to be paid back. The amount you can get doesn’t depend on your household income.

What’s available?

You can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,906 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2019 as a contribution towards your course and living costs. If you start before 1 August 2019, you can get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,609. Your loan payments will be spread out across all the academic years of your course. For example, if you apply for the maximum loan amount in 2019/20, and are studying over two years, your payments would be £5,453 in each academic year. The loan is then paid in three instalments throughout the academic year.

You’ll have to repay any Postgraduate Master’s Loan you borrow.

Part-time study
Advertisement

If you’re thinking about studying a part-time master’s course, your payments will be spread out over the full course duration. For example, if you apply for the maximum amount of Postgraduate Master’s Loan in 2019/20 and study over four years, you’ll get £2,726.50 in each year of your course.

If your part-time course doesn’t have a full-time equivalent, it can only be a maximum of three years in length.

Disabled Students’ Allowances

If you have a disability, including a mental health condition, long-term health condition, or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, you might be able to get Disabled Students’ Allowances. These don’t have to be paid back, and you don’t have to be getting a Postgraduate Master’s Loan to apply.

You could get help to pay for your course and living costs.

Eligibility

Whether you can get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan depends on your:

  • personal circumstances
  • course
  • university

Personal circumstances
To get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan, you must meet certain criteria on nationality and residency, age, and previous study.

Nationality and residency

To apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan, you must:

  • be a UK or EU national or have settled status (this means you have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK)
  • normally live in England
  • have been living in the UK for at least three years before the first day of the first academic year of your course

If you’re an EU national and have been living in the EEA or Switzerland for at least three years before the start of your course, you’ll also be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan.

You may also be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan if you’re:
  • a member of the armed forces, or a relative of someone in the Armed Forces and studying on a distance learning course at a UK course provider while you are posted abroad
  • a refugee, or a relative of one
  • under Humanitarian Protection, or a relative of someone under Humanitarian Protection
    18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years, or at least half your life
    an EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or a relative of one
  • the child of a Swiss national
  • the child of a Turkish worker
  • a stateless person (including eligible family members)
  • granted leave to remain, or a child of someone granted leave to remain, under Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016*
    *To be eligible under Section 67, you must have been living in the UK for at least three years before the first day of the first academic year of your course.
Age

You must be under 60 years of age on the first day of the first academic year of your course to get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan.

The academic year starts on:
1 September, if your course starts between 1 August and 31 December
1 January, if your course starts between 1 January and 31 March
1 April, if your course starts between 1 April and 30 June
1 July, if your course starts between 1 July and 31 July

If you have a loan from a previous undergraduate course, it won’t affect your eligibility for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan.
You can only get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan if you don’t already have a master’s qualification, or a higher-level qualification such as a PhD. If you already hold a qualification that is equivalent to, or at a higher level than, a master’s level qualification, you won’t be able to get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan.

MAs from Scottish universities, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, or Trinity College Dublin are at a lower level than a postgraduate master’s qualification. If you have an MA from one of these universities, you may be able to get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan.

If you take a Postgraduate Master’s Loan for a course but don’t complete it, you won’t be able to get a second Postgraduate Master’s Loan. If you have to withdraw from your course for compelling personal reasons, such as illness, you may still be able to apply for another Postgraduate Master’s Loan.

Course eligibility

The course you’re studying must be at an eligible uni or college in the UK, and must be a full postgraduate master’s course, leading to a qualification such as:

  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Master of Art (MA)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Master of Research (MRes)
  • Master of Law (LLM)
  • Master of Letters (MLitt)
  • Master of Fine Art (MFA)
  • Master of Education (MEd)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)

A Postgraduate Master’s Loan is not available to students wanting to ‘top up’ a lower-level qualification to a master’s degree. The course must be a full, standalone master’s course.

You can’t get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan for certain postgraduate 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) or Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
  • Integrated Master’s
  • Master of Architecture (MArch)

You can choose to study your course in person at the university, or by distance learning, and your course can be:

  • a full-time course lasting one or two academic years
  • a part-time course lasting two academic years that has a one-year full-time equivalent
  • a part-time course lasting three or four academic years that has a two-year full-time equivalent
  • a part-time course lasting up to three years that has no full-time equivalent
  • If you’re not sure if your course qualifies for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan, you should check with your university.

When you apply for student finance, you’ll need to agree to Student Finance England’s terms and conditions.

You can apply for the full Postgraduate Master’s Loan amount in any year of your course.

Applying online

The quickest and easiest way to apply is online at www.gov.uk/studentfinance as soon as the application service opens.

Set up a student finance account

If you have taken out a loan with Student Finance England before, sign in to your existing account to apply. If it’s your first time applying, when you register, you’ll be given a unique Customer Reference Number and asked to create a password and secret answer. Keep these safe, as you’ll need them to sign in to your account to check the progress of your application.

Fill in and submit your application

You’ll be asked for proof of identity. You can easily do this by giving Student Finance England your valid UK passport details. If you don’t have a UK passport, you may have to send them evidence.

You’ll be asked how much Postgraduate Master’s Loan you want, up to the maximum for your course. If your course is longer than one year, you’ll be asked how much you want in your first year.

To get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan, you must apply no more than nine months after the first day of the first academic year of your course, if you’re studying a one-year course. If your course is longer than one year, you must apply no later than nine months after the first day of the second year of your course, or nine months after the first day of the final academic year of your course. If you’re a new student, you must apply no more than nine months after the first day of the final academic year of your course.

Send any evidence Student Finance England asks for
They may contact you to ask for evidence to support your application.

Evidence

If you don’t have a UK passport, you may have to send Student Finance England evidence, such as a non-UK passport, or your UK birth or adoption certificate.

You should send this as quickly as possible to avoid any delay in your application being processed. Remember to include your Customer Reference Number with everything you send them.

In some circumstances, you may be asked to send Student Finance England additional information or evidence, for example, evidence of your previous addresses or documents from the Home Office. They can’t process your application until they have everything they need, so you should send them anything they ask for as soon as possible, so your application isn’t delayed.

Changing your details

If any of your details change after you’ve applied for student finance, don’t worry – you can simply update your application. You can use your online account to make changes to your personal details before or after your course has started. To update any other details, such as your university or course, you need to send Student Finance England a completed postgraduate ‘Change of circumstances’ form. You can download this from www.gov.uk/postgraduateloan.

What happens next?

Once Student Finance England has assessed your application, they’ll send you a letter confirming how much Postgraduate Master’s Loan you’re getting. The letter will also show the dates they expect to pay your Postgraduate Master’s Loan to you. You should keep this letter safe, as your university might ask to see it when you register.

Advertisement