Postgraduate taught student finance

Find out about the Government's student finance support and Career Development Loans.

Postgraduate loans from Student Finance England

For students starting certain postgraduate masters programmes in 2017/18 (on or after the 1 August 2017), the UK Government will provide a loan of up to £10,280 per student. The loan is non-means tested.

This is a contribution towards the costs of study and eligible students will have the discretion to use the loan towards fees, maintenance and other associated costs of study.


To be eligible students will need to meet a number of eligibility criteria including:

1. Residency

UK and EU nationals will need to meet certain residency criteria as assessed by Student Finance England (SFE) to be eligible. For those that do not meet the requirements of SFE, there are other devolved authorities such as SFWSFNI and SAAS who all offer postgraduate funding packages.

2. Age

Students will need to be aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of the programme. For assessment purposes these dates are 1 September, 1 January, 1 April and 1 July.

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

3. Programme of study

  • Eligible masters programmes may be taught or research based – for example, MA, MSc, MBA, MRes (on entry), LLM and MFA
  • There are no subject restrictions
  • PhDs and programmes that are currently funded by the undergraduate support scheme – for example integrated masters (MEng/MPhys/MChem/MMath) – are not supported by this scheme.
  • PGCerts and PGDips are not supported by this scheme
  • One- or two-year full-time courses are eligible for support
  • Part-time courses are also eligible and are subject to a 25 per cent course intensity in the first year of study and both P/T and P/G students are now able to access funding for up to 4 years (£10,280 split evenly across all years of study over 25% intensity)
  • At present the information received means that students on a modular, self-paced, Masters programme will not be eligible for this scheme
  • The programme may have an overseas element, but this cannot exceed 50 per cent of the total programme of study
  • Distance learning programmes are also permissible (and are subject to a minimum of 50 per cent intensity in the first year of study and an average of 50 per cent intensity over the whole course, but the applicant will need to reside in England whilst undertaking the programme (this is also subject to the personal eligibility which includes meeting certain residency requirements to be eligible for support)
  • Students who are seen to be studying for an equivalent or lower level qualification will not be eligible for this scheme (for example, if you already hold a Masters or a higher qualification and are looking to undertake a Masters qualification, you would not be eligible for this scheme – please note this applies even if the qualification was entirely self-funded and/or achieved outside of the UK)


You will not be required to make a repayment until 6 April in the year following that in which the programme is completed (or following withdrawal, where this applies).

Note that payments made through HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) will not start before the 6 April 2019; however, voluntary payments can be made, without penalty, before this date.

Postgraduate loans will be repaid using a percentage of your income. The UK payment threshold in tax year 2019/20 will be £21,000 per annum – this equates to an equivalent monthly threshold of £1,750.

Repayments from overseas will have a threshold applied which is based on the costs of living in the applicable country of residence and will be made directly to the Student Loan Company.

The repayment amount will be 6 per cent of income above the relevant threshold. Repayments will be made concurrently with any other student loan repayments due, under the arrangements in place for the repayments of that loan.

The balance of any outstanding postgraduate loan under this scheme will be written off on the 30th anniversary of the date on which the loan becomes due for repayment.

If a loan holder becomes permanently unfit for work and there are no outstanding arrears, or if the loan holder passes away, the loan will be written off at that time.

Apply online

The quickest and easiest way to apply is through the Government's postgraduate loans website.

Receiving your loan

Eligible students will need to have fully completed registration with the University (which includes part payment of tuition fees) before they receive the first payment of their loan.

There is no minimum amount that you have to request but, if you change your mind and would like to increase the amount of loan you have asked for, you must do this at least one month prior to the end of the academic year.

If the transaction has already taken place it cannot be amended, however you can request for any future payments to be decreased.

The loan is paid over the first two years of your programme of study and the date of these instalments for both full-time, part-time and distance-learning students will depend on the duration of your programme. Three and four year courses are also eligible for funding and the amount borrowed would be split across those years.

Intitial applications must be made within 9 months of the relevant academic year starting.

If your programme of study is seen as greater than one academic year's duration you will receive your loan over two years. For example, if they have elected to borrow the maximum amount (£10,280), eligible students will receive £5,140 per academic year, paid in three instalments each year.

Eligible students who are seen to be on programmes of one academic year's duration, and who have elected to borrow the maximum amount of the loan, will receive £10,280 paid in three instalments across that academic year.

Payments will be made in three instalments per academic year:

  • Payment one: programme start date, as advised by the university
  • Payment two: four months after the programme start month (on the last Wednesday of the month)
  • Payment three: seven months after the programme start month (on the last Wednesday of the month)

There are specific rules around students who transfer or repeat study and how this affects eligibility. For further information, please contact

If you have been accepted for the postgraduate loan, and are having difficulties in paying your fees before your first instalment is due, please contact our student finance team:, once you are in receipt of a tuition fee invoice.

Career Development Loans (CDL) or graduate loans

The Co-operative Bank issues CDL loans and they specify:

  • You must not receive any other grants or state benefits intended to cover those costs.
  • You are unable to consolidate any existing borrowing with this loan.

This essentially means that if your course is eligible for a postgraduate loan (regardless of whether you take it or not) then you are not eligible to apply for a CDL.