Postgraduate Loans: Changes for Students Studying in the UK

Finding funding for a postgraduate degree in the UK is often the final piece of an already complicated puzzle. Unlike at undergraduate level, where a student loan is assured, finding funding for an MA or MSc has always been a competitive race for scholarships, bursaries and sponsorships.

Until now, that is! Big changes have just come into play. This could be your big chance to pursue a Masters degree in the UK – so make sure you’re up to date on the new rules.

Postgraduate loans – How much can you get?

UK and EU students starting courses from August 2017 onwards are now able to apply for a £10,280 postgraduate loan through the UK government website.

The loan can be used to pay your course fees and help with living expenses. You also have the ability to choose how much you wish to borrow – this can be any amount between £1 and the maximum £10,280. Unlike undergraduate tuition loans, the funds are paid directly to you, not your university.

Loans eligibility for part-time students

If your course lasts more than a year – for example if you’re a part-time Masters student studying over two years – you can take up to £5,000 in the first year and the rest in your second year.

Some part-time courses can last three or four years. In these circumstances, you can still get up to £10,280, but will be paid across the first two years in six instalments (three sixths per year).

Who can get a postgraduate loan?

You must be under 60 years of age on the first day of your course. There are also nationality/residency requirements. They’re a little stricter than you might think.

If you live in the UK, you can get the loan if all of the following apply to you:

  • You’re a UK national or have settled status
  • You normally reside in England
  • You’ve been living in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for 3 years prior to your course’s start date

If you’re an EU national, you may be eligible if:

  • You’ve lived in the EEA or Switzerland for the past three years, and
  • You’ll be living in the UK on the first day of your course

You also have options if you are:

  • A child of a Swiss national or Turkish worker
  • A refugee or relative of one
  • A EEC/Swiss migrant worker or relative of one
  • You have humanitarian protection, or are a relative of someone who does

Postgraduate loan repayment

To everyone who’s been waiting for accessible UK postgraduate funding, this could be a huge development. As with all loans, however, the money you borrow needs to be repaid eventually. So how will repayment work for this new postgraduate funding?

The plan is basically the same as the UK undergraduate finance scheme. You will pay 6% of your income over £21,000 every month. 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 £21,000.

What about interest rates? The rate is the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3%. At the moment, that gives a rate of 3.9%, but it can change depending on RPI in the future.

Hopefully, you now feel more confident with the changes coming to student finance for postgraduate programmes. If you’re looking for a great course in the heart of London, apply to study at Northumbria University London Campus today.

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