Postgraduate Loan for Masters Study

UK and EU students looking to pursue a Masters programme in the UK can apply for a non-means-tested loan from the British government via the Student Loans Company (SLC). 

The loan will be paid directly to you, into a UK bank account. It is intended to provide a contribution towards the costs of Masters study and whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs is at your own discretion.

There are separate loans for students domiciled in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Key information

  • A loan of up to £10,609 is available to students applying to taught and research Masters courses (loan amount for 2018 entry. The rate for 2019 entry is to be confirmed by the SLC). 

  • The loan is available to students across all 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.).

  • Full-time programmes can be 1 or 2 years in duration.

  • Part-time programmes lasting 2 to 4 academic years are eligible, so long as they are no more than twice the length of the equivalent full-time course. Where no equivalent full-time course exists, part-time programmes can be up to 3 years in duration. If your course does not meet these duration requirements then it is not eligible for a Postgraduate Masters Loan. 

  • You must be studying a standalone Masters course - integrated Masters programmes are covered by the undergraduate loan  system. 
  • You must be registered as studying at our UK campus: applicants to our Dubai campus are not eligible for the loan. 

Eligibility

  • The loans are non-means tested and available to students who will be under the age of 60 on the first day of the first year of their programme. In this instance, the academic year is a period of 12 months starting 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) or 1 July (if your course starts between 1 July and 31 July).

  • The loan is available to UK nationals (and individuals with settled status in the UK) who have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years by the first day of their course (a temporary absence for study or travel will not harm an application).

  • Students must also have been most recently resident in England, which means that Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish applicants need to already be living in England to be eligible (and not have moved to England just to study). For students from other parts of the UK, please see the following pages for postgraduate loans in WalesScotland and Northern Ireland.

  • The loan is also available to EU students without the UK residency requirements given above (nationality and residency rules for EU nationals still apply).

  • Distance learning applicants must reside in England on the first day of their course and then remain residing in either the UK for the whole course (if a UK national) or in England for the whole course (if an EU national).

  • 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 the loan.  

  • The loan is not available to students wanting to ‘top up’ a lower-level qualification to a Masters degree. The course must be a full, standalone Masters course.

  • The loan is not available for PGCert (Postgraduate Certificate) and PGDip (Postgraduate Diploma) courses, or where the postgraduate course is funded by undergraduate student finance, such as Initial Teacher Training, integrated Masters (MSci, MEng) or Physiotherapy. 

  • Full-time programmes can be 1 or 2 years in duration.

  • Part-time programmes lasting 2 to 4 academic years are eligible, so long as they are no more than twice the length of the equivalent full-time course. Where no equivalent full-time course exists, part-time programmes can be up to 3 years in duration. If your course does not meet these duration requirements then it is not eligible for a Postgraduate Masters Loan. 

  • Those wishing to use Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) credits will not be eligible to apply for the loan. APL refers to the process by which this University (and many others) gives credit against learning achieved by an individual before entry to a programme of study at Birmingham.

  • Postgraduate students can apply for a single allowance Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) payment of up to £10,362 to support them in their course.  They do not need to apply for the Postgraduate Masters Loan to receive this support.  However, in all instances, when DSA support is required for a Masters course students should complete a DSA1 full form. 

  • Students are not eligible for the loan if they are eligible to receive any other bursary from any of the following organisations:

    • National Health Service (NHS)
    • Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS)
    • Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)

For more information, or to seek clarification as to eligible programmes, check the Government Postgraduate Loan website.

How to apply

  • Online applications are now open for 18/19 courses via the Postgraduate Loans 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

  • There is no minimum loan amount that can be requested. The amount requested can be altered up to one month before the end of the course. 

  • Money will be paid directly to the student, it is at the discretion of the student how they intend for their tuition to be paid. Information on paying your tuition fees can be found here.

  • From 2017 entry, payments for part-time courses will be spread across all part-time years.
  • Payments will be split equally across three termly instalments per academic year.

  • As with undergraduate support, students will need to provide both valid UK bank details and a National Insurance Number (NINO) in their own name.

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 for students on the first year of the scheme (academic year 2016-17) will not begin until 6 April 2019.

  • 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.

  • Any outstanding balance will be written off after the 30th anniversary 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).

 

For more information about the Postgraduate Loan, visit the UK Government website or Student Finance England.

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, there will be no immediate change to your immigration status and associated fee status or to your access to student loans as a result of the vote.  If you will be starting your studies in 2018 or 2019, you will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time (may be subject to annual increases for inflation) for the duration of your course.  You will also continue to have access to the Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK Government for the duration of your course.