You're encouraged to apply for your postgraduate loan as early as possible to make sure your funding is in place for the start of your course. Head to the gov.uk website for further details about how and when to apply.
Funding eligibility for EU students
EU students studying a Master's degree in January 2021 may be eligible for some funding.
You can find more information on the gov.uk website.
Who will be eligible?
- The postgraduate loan will be available up to a maximum value of £11,222 for January 2021 entry and up to a maximum value of £11,570 for September 2021 and January 2022 entry (non-means tested) for your whole course, paid directly to you during the duration of the course
- If you are studying for 2, 3 or 4 academic years, the loan will be divided equally across each year of your course
- The loan will be available for English students resident* in England and studying a taught postgraduate course (full-time, part-time and distance learning), including Master's by Research, at a UK university (including institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
- If you are Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish, but normally live* in England, and have done so for the last three years, you should be able to receive a loan
- For January 2021 entry only, you can receive the postgraduate loan to study in England as an EU student. You will need to have been resident* in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for at least three years prior to the beginning of your course
- Students aged under 60 will be eligible for a loan.
Students who have previously been awarded a Postgraduate Master's Loan will in most circumstances not be eligible for another Postgraduate Master's Loan for a new course, even where they only received part payment of the loan.
However, where the student was awarded a Postgraduate Master's Loan for a previous course, but did not achieve the qualification due to compelling personal reasons, they may be eligible for a repeat year of Postgraduate Master’s Loan funding.
*Periods of residency that are purely for the purpose of education will not count towards this three year requirement, for example to study an undergraduate qualification i.e.if you have moved to England, from elsewhere in the UK solely for the purpose of study, then you are not eligible to receive Postgraduate loan funding from SFE
Which courses and levels of study are eligible?
- Master's courses in all disciplines and subject areas, including Master's by Research (MRes), will be covered by the postgraduate loan scheme - it is intended for full Master's study, typically 180 credits and including a dissertation or equivalent level project
- Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip), and Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) courses are not eligible for this funding. Home/EU applicants who are funding their studies in part by the Student Loans Company postgraduate loan must commit to the full Master's course from the outset with the intention of completing the course in full
- Law courses such as Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip), and Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert), including the Legal Practice Course (LPC), Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Common Professional Examination (CPE) are not eligible for this funding
- Short Courses (also known as Continuing Professional Development courses) such as the Media & Communication or Health & Social Care units are not eligible for this funding
- Integrated Master's degrees are not eligible for this loan as they are usually eligible for undergraduate loans
- Students who meet the residency criteria must be resident in England on the first day of distance learning courses to be eligible for funding
- Part-time courses must have a minimum average intensity of 50% (i.e. a one-year equivalent course, delivered over two years, or a two-year equivalent course over three or four years) to be eligible for funding
- Funding for part-time courses, including those with a placement year will be awarded on a pro-rata basis, with 50% of funding in the first two years.
- A separate loans scheme is available for research degrees and PhDs, up to £27,265 for 2021/22 entry.
How will the loan be paid?
Payments will be released following receipt of confirmation from BU that you are in study and on track to complete the course within the specified course duration. This must be confirmed at the start of each academic year of the course.
The postgraduate loan will be paid directly to you in three instalments per academic year. You would receive the first payment after your course start date, once we confirm that you have registered. Each year's amount will be paid in three instalments of 33%, 33% and 34%. The instalments will be paid into a UK bank account, scheduled as follows:
Payment 1: Course start date as advised by the HE Provider
Payment 2: 4 months after the course start month (last Wed of month)
Payment 3: 7 months after the course start month (last Wed of month)
What about repayment?
- The postgraduate loans will be repaid under income contingent repayment terms. These terms differ from those that apply to undergraduate student loans
- Interest will accrue at a rate of RPI +3% on all outstanding postgraduate loan balances
- The repayment due date for postgraduate loan balances will be 6 April following the academic year in which the course is completed. Note that the repayments through HMRC will not start before 6 April 2020
- Voluntary repayments can be made at any time without penalty
- The UK repayment threshold will be £21,000 in tax year 2021/22. The equivalent monthly threshold is £1,750 and the weekly threshold is £404. Those who are repaying from overseas will have a threshold applied which is based on the cost of living in their country of residence. Repayments from overseas students will be made directly to the Student Loans Company. Any future changes to the thresholds will be confirmed by the Student Loans Company in due course
- The repayment amount will be 6% of income above the relevant threshold. Repayments will be made concurrently with any other student loan repayments due, i.e. borrowers repaying both an undergraduate and postgraduate loan will have a 15% total deduction taken from their salary
- Borrowers may switch to direct debit repayments when they are scheduled to repay in full within two years.
- Write off of any outstanding balance will take place on the 30th anniversary of the date that the loan becomes due for repayment
- You can find out more about the repayment, and how this works alongside your earnings, tax and national insurance contributions on the FindAMasters website.
How do I apply?
Head to the gov.uk website to find out more and apply.
Are other options available?
- There are lots of options for you to consider for your postgraduate funding. Students may find funding in other areas, such as employment contributions, Professional and Career Development Loans, Disabled Students' Allowance and funds from other charities and organisations. Read our guide to funding options for UK and EU students.
Will I still be eligible for BU scholarships and discounts?
- We currently offer a range of discounts and scholarships to support postgraduate students, including a 20% discount for BU graduates and an automatic scholarship from £1,500 when you achieve 2:1 and above. You can read full details of these and terms and eligibility criteria on our funding pages
- Our scholarships and discounts remain subject to change at any time. You can keep up to date on our funding pages.
Will a Postgraduate Loan cover all the costs?
The Postgraduate Loan is paid directly to you, and you are able to decide where you want to use the funding, although it may or may not cover all your study and living costs.
The cost of our taught full-time Master's courses vary. You may be eligible for scholarships or discounts which will reduce the fee you have to pay. Our accommodation costs also vary, as you may decide to live in a shared flat, studio flat or rent in the private sector.
You can find full details of course costs, duration and entry requirements on our Course pages.