Postgraduate loans are Government loans that help with tuition fees, living costs and other course costs.

If you are starting a course in 2017, you can borrow up to £10,280 over the length of your course.

Key facts about postgraduate loans

  • Postgraduate loans for Master's degrees starting in 2017/18 are available up to a value of £10,280. This is paid directly to you in instalments across the total duration of your course.
  • You must have started your course in 2016/17 or later to be eligible for a postgraduate loan.
  • Postgraduate loans from Student Finance England are available to students from England and non-UK EU students.
  • Postgraduate loans are also available from Student Finance Wales for students from Wales – see the Student Finance Wales website for more details.
  • You must be under 60 on 1 September on the year you start your course to be eligible for a postgraduate loan.
  • Postgraduate loans are available for most taught and research Master's programmes*.
  • Students studying full-time, part-time and some distance learning Master's programmes are eligible.
  • To qualify for a part-time Masters loan, you will need to be studying the course at a minimum of 50% of the equivalent one year full-time course. Therefore, three-year part-time courses are not eligible for loan funding, unless there is no equivalent one-year full-time course. (Individual course eligibility is indicated on each course page.)
  • Loans are not means tested.
  • Repayments are income-contingent, and paid on top of undergraduate loan repayments. You will pay back 6% of your annual income over £21,000.
  • Interest on postgraduate loans will accrue at a rate of RPI (Retail Price Index) + 3% on all outstanding balances.

*Excluding MArch students who are eligible for undergraduate funding, PGCE, Integrated Master’s, and students studying MSc Social Work in receipt of a social work bursary.


Loans are available to UK Nationals (and individuals with settled status in the UK) who meet these criteria:

  • Have been ordinarily resident in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for three years on the first day of the first academic year of their course.
  • Are most recently resident in England or Wales.
  • Have not moved to England from elsewhere in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man solely for the purpose of attending their course.

You may also be eligible if you are an EU national or you have residency status as:

  • an EEA or Swiss migrant worker
  • a family member of an EEA or Swiss migrant worker
  • a child of a Swiss national living in the UK
  • a child of a Turkish national who has been working in the UK for at least one year


You are not eligible for a postgraduate loan if: 

  • you have outstanding student loan arrears
  • you have previously been found to be ‘unfit’ for student support
  • you already hold a Master’s qualification (or an equivalent or higher level qualification)
  • you are over 60 on 1 September in the year you start your course
  • you are not studying the full 180 credits and are coming in with RPL (recognised prior learning)

Applying for a postgraduate loan

You can apply for a loan on the student finance website. You will need to provide your National Insurance Number and you will need a UK bank account before the loan can be paid to you.

There is no minimum loan request amount and you can increase the amount of loan you request up to one month before the end of the academic year.

For courses starting in 2017/18, payments will be made in three equal instalments per academic year:

  1. on the course start date
  2. four months after the course start
  3. seven months after the start

We recommend that you apply as soon as possible, and you stick to the application deadlines to ensure you receive your support when you start the course.

You can apply for funding up to nine months after the course start date. If studying a two-year course, you can apply up to nine months into the second year of the course.

You only need to apply once for courses that run over multiple years.

Tuition fee payments

If you intend to pay your tuition fees using a postgraduate loan, you can contact the Income Team once you have started to set up a payment plan that matches the loan instalment dates.

Changes of circumstances 

You can normally only get a postgraduate loan for one year of full-time study (or the equivalent in part-time study). You cannot generally get additional funding for any repeat years. 

A repeat year will only be funded if you can prove there were compelling personal reasons that lead to you repeating, such as ill health. Further funding is not available if you do not complete the course in the specified course length.

You can suspend and resume your course, but no payments are made during suspension periods.


You will only start to pay back your loan when your income is over £21,000 a year. Your employer will deduct repayments from your salary.

You will repay 6% of any annual income above £21,000. If you are also repaying an undergraduate loan, you will pay these both at the same time (i.e. a total of 15% of your income over £21,000).

Interest will be added to your loan balance at a rate of RPI (Retail Price Index) + 3%.

You will still have to make repayments if you move abroad, but the threshold may be different in line with the cost of living where you are. Any repayments due if you are working overseas have to paid by Direct Debit.

If you have not repaid your loan after 30 years, any outstanding balance is written off. This excludes any arrears that may be outstanding.

Further information

If you have any queries about the postgraduate loan, please email or phone 023 9284 3014.

Postgraduate Loan Policy Summary pdf

For further information download the full Postgraduate Loan Policy Summary or contact us at the Student Finance Centre.