Who can get a Postgraduate Loan?
Whether you can get a Postgraduate Loan depends on your:
- personal circumstances,
- course, and
To get a Postgraduate Loan you must meet certain criteria on nationality and residency, age and previous study.
Nationality and residency
To apply for a Postgraduate Loan you must:
- be a UK or EU national or have ‘settled status’, so there are no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK
- normally live in England and have not moved there just to study (unless you’re an EU national), and
- have been living in the UK for at least three years before the start of your course (unless you’re an EU national).
You may also be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan if you’re:
- a member of the armed forces, or a relative of someone in the Armed Forces and studying on a distance learning course at a UK institution whilst you are posted abroad,
- a refugee, or a relative of one,
- under Humanitarian Protection, or a relative of someone under Humanitarian Protection,
- 18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years or at least half your life,
- an EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or a relative of one,
- the child of a Swiss national, or
- the child of a Turkish worker.
EU student eligibility
If you’re an EU national and have been living in the EEA or Switzerland for at least three years before the start of your course, you’ll also be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan.
You must be under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course to get a Postgraduate Loan.
The academic year starts 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
- 1 July, if your course starts between 1 July and 31 July
If you have a loan from a previous undergraduate course it won’t affect your eligibility for a Postgraduate Loan.
You can only get a Postgraduate Loan if you don’t already have a Master’s qualification or a higher level qualification such as a PhD. If you already hold a qualification which is equivalent or a higher level than a Master’s level qualification you won’t be able to get a Postgraduate Loan.
MAs from Scottish universities, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge or Trinity College Dublin are at a lower level than a postgraduate Master’s qualification. If you have an MA from one of these universities, you may be able to get a Postgraduate Loan.
If you take a Postgraduate Loan for a course but don’t complete it, you won’t be able to get a second Postgraduate Loan. If you have to withdraw from your course for compelling personal reasons, such as illness, you may still be able to apply for another Postgraduate Loan.
The course you’re studying must be in the UK and be a full postgraduate Master’s course. This will lead to a Master’s qualification such as:
- Master of Science (MSc)
- Master of Art (MA)
- Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
- Master of Research (MRes)
- Master of Law (LLM)
- Master of Letters (MLitt)
- Master of Fine Art (MFA)
- Master of Education (MEd)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
You can’t get a Postgraduate Loan for postgraduate level courses, such as PgCert (Postgraduate Certificate), PgDip (Postgraduate Diploma) or where the postgraduate course is funded by undergraduate student finance, such as:
- Initial Teacher Training (ITT)/ Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE
- Integrated Master’s
- Master of Architecture (MArch)
You can choose to study your course at the university in person or by distance learning and your course can be:
- a full-time course lasting one or two academic years; or
- a part-time course lasting two academic years which has a one year full-time equivalent; or
- a part-time course lasting three or four academic years which has a two years full-time equivalent; or
- a part-time course lasting up to three years which has no full-time equivalent.
The university you’re studying at must be in the UK and either:
- publicly funded (paid for by the government), or
- privately funded with their own degree awarding powers; or
- privately funded with specifically designated courses.
If you’re not sure about university or course eligibility, you should check with your university.
If you’re an EU national and don’t normally live in England, your university must be in England.