Student Awards Agency Scotland Loans for Masters Study

Scottish students starting a Masters course in 2021/22 can apply for a Postgraduate Loan (PGL) under Student Awards Agency Scotland.

 A non-means tested loan of up to £10,000 per student is available for students living in Scotland.

Please see the following pages for EnglandWales and Northern Ireland domiciled students. 

Please note, you will only be able to apply for and use this loan to study at the University of Birmingham if the course is not available at any Scottish Universities. 

Key information

The main details of the new Postgraduate Loan are as follows:

  • The loan will be available to students across all discipline subject areas for full-time and part-time taught Masters and postgraduate Diploma programmes, so long as you do not have existing qualifications at equivalent or higher level.

  •  A loan of up to £10,000 total; £5,500 for tuition fees and for full-time students, £4,500 for living costs.
  • Part-time students are only eligible for tuition fees loan. 
  • The PGL will pay your tuition fee directly to the University and your living costs will be paid directly to your bank account. 

  • Applications are open on the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) website.

Personal Eligibility

  • You must be a UK or EU national (or have settled status) and been ordinarily resident in Scotland for three years on the first day of the first academic year of your degree programme;
  • You must be 'ordinarily resident' in Scotland (temporary absence from your home address, such as for education or travelling, will not prevent you from being eligible to apply for a PGL).
  • To be eligible for the living-cost part of the loan, you must also be studying a full-time course and be under the age of 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course. 

For more information and clarity on residence eligibility, see SAAS residence eligibility rules.

You will not be eligible for PGL if:

  • You already have an equivalent or higher qualification (which includes undergraduate integrated Masters qualifications, such as MSci or MEng etc)
  • You have outstanding loan arrears or have previously been found to be 'unfit for student support' (eg because of attempted fraud).
  • You will not be eligible for the living-cost part of the loan if you are studying part-time. 

Course Eligibility 

    You are eligible if your course is one of the following:
  • One year full-time taught Masters and postgraduate Diploma programmes (tuition fee loan is capped at £5,500 and living cost loan is capped at £4,500);
  • Two year part-time Masters and postgraduate Diploma programmes (tuition fee loan is capped at £2,750 per year);
  • Two year full-time Masters programmes (tuition fee loan is capped at £2,750 per year and living cost loan is capped at £2,250 per year);
  • Three year part-time Masters programmes (tuition fee loan will be capped at £1,833 year one, £1,833 year two and £1,834 year three).

Programmes that are not eligible:

  • Programmes invoiced at course level (ICL) with a part-time intermittent method of study;
  • Distance learning programmes;
  • Masters programmes currently funded by the undergraduate support system (eg Master of Architecture, Integrated Master's such as MSci, MEng and PGDE);
  • Certificate programmes.

How to apply

  • Online applications for 2021/22 academic year are open on the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) website. 

  • It is recommended that you apply for a place on your course at the University of Birmingham prior to applying to a Postgraduate Loan.


  • Payments will be released after you have registered on your degree programme and the University has confirmed your attendance to the Student Loan Company (SLC) and Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) at the start of the academic session.

  • Tuition fee payment will be made directly to the University.


  • Interest will accrue at a rate in line with retail price index (RPI).

  • Repayments will start to become due on April following the academic year in which the course is completed.

  • The Student Loan Company (SLC) will expect you to pay 9% of your income each year once you earn more than £18,935.
  • You will not have to pay your loan over a fixed period.

Alternative Funding

For alternative sources of funding for masters study for which you may be eligible, please visit our Loans, charities and trust page.