Student Finance Wales Loans for Masters Study

Welsh students wishing to pursue a Masters course can apply for Postgraduate Master's Finance from Student Finance Wales.

Up to £17,000 (for 2019/20 entry) is available for students who are normally domiciled in Wales and did not move there for the purposes of study. The Postgraduate Master's Finance 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 your discretion. 

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

Key information

The main details of the Student Finance Wales (SFW) Postgraduate Finance are as follows:

  • Up to £17,000 made up of a loan and grant is available to students applying to taught and research Masters courses commencing in the 2019/20 academic year. Please visit the SFW website for more information on how much you would be eligible for.

  • 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 money 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 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July, depending on when your course starts.

    • For example, where a student starts a course on any date in August to December 2019 inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1 September 2019. The applicant must be aged under 60 on that date.

  • Postgraduate Master's Finance will be available to UK nationals or persons who have 'settled status' in the UK, which means that you have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK, and who are ordinarily resident in Wales and did not move there for the purposes of study. You also need to have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years on the first day of the first academic year of your course. Temporary absences from the home address, such as for travelling, will not prevent an applicant being eligible for Postgraduate Master's Finance.

  • 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 Postgraduate Master's Finance if they have outstanding student loan arrears or are ‘unfit’ for student support (e.g. because of attempted fraud).
  • Students who already hold a Masters 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 Postgraduate Master's Finance. 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 more information, or to seek clarification as to eligible programmes, please check the Student Finance Wales website.

Course eligibility 

Your course must:

  • Be a full, standalone Masters course
  • Be worth 180 credits
  • Have started on, or after, 1 August 2017

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

Eligible courses may be taught or research based and include professional Masters courses such as MBAs. There are no subject restrictions. You 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 members of the armed forces or their family members who are undertaking a distance learning course outside the UK.

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

You cannot get Postgraduate Master's Finance if you are receiving a healthcare or social work bursary from any of the following:

  • National Health Service (NHS)
  • Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS)
  • Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS); or
  • the Care Council Wales

How to apply

  • You can apply for the Postgraduate Masters Finance for the 2019/20 academic year now through 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 for the Postgraduate Masters Finance.

Payment

  • Payments will be released following receipt of confirmation from your University that you have commenced your studies and are fully registered.

  • Payments will be made in three instalments of 33%, 33% and 34% for each academic year. For example, if you are studying a one-year, full-time course starting on or after 1 August 2019, and you applied for the maximum amount from SFW, you will get £17,000 paid to you over three instalments; the first and second instalment would be £5,667 and the third instalment would be £5,666.

  • If you are studying for two, three or four academic years, the loan will be divided equally across each year of your 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.

  • If you take out a loan from SFW for 2019/20, repayments through HMRC will not start before 6th April 2021. 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 Masters 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

To learn more about the alternative sources of funding for Masters study for which you may be eligible, please use our online funding database.

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