Postgraduate Loan for Master’s degrees

The availability of postgraduate Master’s support is subject to the regulations being made. This is expected to happen in April. Policy details on support and repayment are subject to change

Students starting a postgraduate Master’s course (taught or research based) from 1 August 2017 may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan of up to £10,280.

A Postgraduate Loan will be available to students who don’t already hold a Master’s degree or higher qualification. It’s not available to students wanting to ‘top up’ a lower level qualification to a Master’s degree. They can only get a Postgraduate Loan for a full postgraduate Master’s course.

Postgraduate Loans are not based on household income.

Personal eligibility

A Postgraduate Loan may be available to students aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of their course, provided they:

  • are a UK national or have 'settled status' (that means they have no restrictions on how long they can stay);
  • normally live in Wales; and
  • have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of their course.

They could also be eligible if they’re:

  • a member of the UK Armed Forces, or a relative of someone in the UK Armed Forces, and studying on a distance learning course outside the UK,
  • a refugee, or a relative of one,
  • under humanitarian protection as a result of a failed application for asylum and living in Wales,
  • granted Discretionary Leave to remain in the UK or a relative of someone granted Discretionary Leave to remain in the UK where no application for asylum has been made,
  • granted leave to enter or remain in the UK or a relative of someone granted leave to enter or remain as a result of a failed asylum application,
  • an EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or a relative of one,
  • the child of a Swiss national, or
  • the child of a Turkish worker.

They may also be eligible if they’re from an EU country and studying in Wales.

Students who are from another part of the UK but currently living in Wales while they study won’t be classed as ‘ordinarily resident’ in Wales. They should contact their own award authority for further information on what postgraduate support will be available.

Course eligibility

The course must start on or after 1 August 2017, and be a full standalone postgraduate Master’s course such as an MSc, MA, MPhil, MRes, LLM, MLitt, MD, MFA, MED or MBA.

The course must also:

  • be provided by a university or college in the UK (including the Open University); and
  • lead to a postgraduate Master’s degree.

It can be taught or research-based and studied:

  • full-time, lasting one or two academic years;
  • part-time, lasting two to four academic years - no more than twice the length of the equivalent full-time course; or
  • part-time for up to three years, where no equivalent full-time course exists.

Support available

The Postgraduate Loan will be paid directly to the student as a contribution towards their course and living costs. The maximum available will be £10,280 per course; the amount they get per year depends on the length of their course.

Course length academic years

Maximum Postgraduate Loan available

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

1

£10,280

2

£5,140

£5,140

3

£3,426

£3,426

£3,428

4

£2,570

£2,570

£2,570

£2,570

Payments will be made in three instalments for each academic year. For example, if the student is studying a one year full-time course, they will get £10,280 paid to them over three instalments; the first and second instalment would be £3,392.40, and the third instalment would be £3,495.20.

Students won’t be able to get Dependants’ Grants such as Adult Dependants’ Grant, Parents’ Learning Allowance and Childcare Grant.

Disabled Students’ Allowances

Students may be able to get Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) if they have a disability, including a long-term health condition, mental-health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs are grants to help pay the essential extra costs students may have as a direct result of their disability.

Repayment of Postgraduate Loan

Students have to repay any Postgraduate Loan they borrow – the earliest date that they’ll be due to make repayments is 6 April 2019. The amount a student will repay is 6% of their income above the current repayment threshold of:

  • £1,750 monthly or
  • £404 weekly.

If their income is below this, they won’t have to make any repayments. The monthly and weekly figures shown are the equivalent of an annual salary of £21,000 before tax.

Repayments made for the Postgraduate Loan balance will be in addition to any undergraduate loans in repayment.

For example, if a student has a Postgraduate Loan and also an undergraduate loan which they took out after 1998, a total of 15% will be deducted once their income is over the repayment thresholds for these loans. This is based on a deduction of 9% for their undergraduate loan, and 6% for their Postgraduate Loan.

Interest

Interest will be applied to the Postgraduate Loan balance from the day the first payment is made to the student until the loan is repaid in full or cancelled. Interest will be charged at the Retail Price Index (RPI)plus 3%. The current rate until 31st August 2017 is 4.6%.

When to apply

Students will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan from June 2017.



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