Student Finance Wales Postgraduate Loans for Masters Study

Welsh students starting a postgraduate Master’s course in 2017-18 will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan (PGL) under Student Finance Wales.

Applications are open on the Student Finance Wales website from June 2017. 

A non-means tested loan of up to £10,280 per student is avalible for Wales domiciled students. The PGL is paid directly to the student and will be a contribution towards the costs of study. Whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs will be at the discretion of the student. 

Please see the following pages for EnglandScotland and Northern Ireland domilciled students. 

Key information

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

  • A loan of up to £10,280 will be made available to students applying to taught and research Masters courses for the 2017-18 academic year.

  • The loan will be available to students across all discipline subject areas for full-time, part-time and distance learning Masters programmes, so long as you do not have existing qualifications at Masters-level or above (which includes undergraduate integrated Masters qualifications, such as MSci or MEng etc).

  • The loan will be paid directly to you, into a UK bank account.

Personal Eligibility

  • Applicants must be aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of the course. The ‘academic year’ is the period of twelve months starting on 1st September, 1st January, 1st April or 1st July.

    • For example where a student starts a course on any date in August to December 2017 inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1st September 2017. The applicant must be aged under 60 on that date.

    • Note that there is no lower age limit.

  • PGL will be available to persons settled in the UK; who are ordinarily resident in Wales and who have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years on the first day of the first academic year of their course. A person is considered to be ordinarily resident in the place from which the person has moved for the purpose of undertaking a designated course. Temporary absences from the home address, such as for travelling, will not prevent an applicant being eligible for PGL.

  • Individuals may be eligible if they are an EU national or refugee; have leave to enter or remain; are an EEA or Swiss migrant worker; are a family member of any of the previous categories, or a child of a Swiss national or child of a Turkish worker.

  • Distance learning applicants must reside in Wales.
  • Applicants will not be eligible for PGL if they have outstanding student loan arrears or are ‘unfit’ for student support (e.g. because of attempted fraud).
  • Students who already hold a Master’s qualification (or an equivalent or higher level qualification, which includes undergraduate integrated Masters qualifications, such as MSci or MEng etc) will not be eligible for PGL. This applies even if the previous qualification was entirely self-funded and/or achieved outside Wales or the UK. Lower level qualifications or Postgraduate Certificates of Education (PGCE) will not affect eligibility for PGL.

For more information, or to seek clarification as to eligible programmes, check the Student Finance Wales website.

Course Eligibility 

The student must start the course in the academic year 2017/18 or later (i.e. on or after 1st August 2017).

The course may be provided by: 

  • a publically funded HE Provider in the UK; or 
  • an alternative provider with specific designation.

Note that the course may have an overseas element but this cannot exceed 50% of the total course.

One and two year full-time courses are eligible for support. Part-time courses studied over two to four years are eligible, and are subject to a minimum average 50% intensity requirement where there is an equivalent full-time course. Part-time courses that are up to 3 years in length and have no full-time equivalent course are eligible for support.

Eligible courses may be taught or research based, and include professional Master’s courses such as MBAs. There are no subject restrictions. The student can attend an eligible course anywhere in the UK or study an eligible course by undertaking distance learning in Wales (subject to restrictions on personal eligibility).

Support will be available for serving member of the armed forces or their family member who are undertaking a distance learning course outside the UK.

Examples of courses that are eligible for Postgraduate Loan funding include the following:

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

Master’s courses that are currently funded by the undergraduate support system, such as integrated Master’s (MSci, MEng), will not be eligible for PGL. Neither will other postgraduate qualifications that do not result in a Master’s qualification, such as a Postgraduate Diploma.

Students may not be eligible for PGL where they are eligible to apply for a healthcare bursary or are in receipt of a social work bursary. Policy is being finalised in this area and the intention is to avoid double funding.

How to apply

  • Online applications for 2017-18 academic year will open from June 2017 on the Student Finance Wales 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.

Payment

  • No payments will be released until the applicant has supplied their valid National Insurance Number (NINO) where they have one.

  • There is no minimum loan request amount. Students can amend the amount of loan requested up to nine months after the start of the academic year, but cannot request less than has been paid.

  • Payments will be released following receipt of confirmation from the HE Provider that the student is in study. This must be confirmed at the start of each academic year of the course.

  • Payments of PGL will be made in three instalments per academic year, scheduled as follows:

    • Payment 1: Course start date as advised by the HE Provider*

    • Payment 2: Four months after the course start month (last Wed of month)

    • Payment 3: Seven months after the course start month (last Wed of month)

*Payment on this date depends on the HE Provider confirming the student is in study. Students will have payments scheduled over all academic years of the course.

Repayment

  • Interest will accrue at a rate of RPI + 3%.

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

  • Repayments through HMRC will not start before 6th April 2019. Voluntary repayments can be made at any time without penalty.

  • Repayment threshold will be £21,000 in tax year 2019/20 (may vary if living overseas).

  • The repayment amount will be 6% of income above the relevant threshold.

  • Repayments will be made concurrently with any other student loan repayments due. If you are repaying both an undergraduate and the new postgraduate loan you will have a 15% (UG 9% and PG 6%) total deduction taken from your salary.

  • Borrowers may switch to direct debit repayments when they are scheduled to repay in full within two years.
  • Any outstanding balance will be written off after the 30th anniversary on which the repayments became due.

Change of Circumstances

  • Transfers between eligible postgraduate Master's courses are permitted.
  • Repeat years of study will not be funded (only in exceptional circumstances as determined by the Student Loans Company).
  • Further funding is not available where the course is not completed in the specified length. Although, students can suspend and resume their course (no payments are made during the suspension 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.

Information for EU students

Following results of the EU Referendum in the UK, please see the following information published by Universities UK and the British Council for EU students studying in the UK from academic year 2017-18 onwards. 

Studying in the UK: FAQs and Key Messages 2017-18