Postgraduate Loan Scheme - Master's

The UK Government has a postgraduate loan scheme for students undertaking Master’s-level courses, and will introduce loans for PhD students in 2018.

Non means-tested loans of up to a maximum of £10,609 are available to taught and research Master's students. For PhD-level students, a maximum of £25,000 will be available.

Postgraduate Loans

  • Postgraduate loans are available to UK Nationals (ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands), EU, EEA or Swiss nationals ordinarily resident in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
  • Applicants are not eligible for PGL if they have outstanding student loan arrears or have previously been found to be ‘unfit’ for student support.

Course Eligibility

  • Non means-tested loans of up to £10,609 per course are made available to students applying to taught and research Master's courses. PhD students are funded through a separate scheme.
  • Loans are available to students under the age of 60 studying full-time, part-time (at least 50% of a full-time course) or on distance-learning courses.
  • Loans are available to students across all discipline areas.
  • The loan is considered to be a contribution towards the costs of postgraduate study and is not available if you already have a Master's qualification.
  • Postgraduate funding is considered a devolved matter for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Therefore loans are only available for students ordinarily resident in England.

Payment of Loan

  • Payments of PGL are made in three equal instalments per academic year: course start date, 4 months and 7 months after start date.
  • Payments are released following receipt of confirmation from the HE Provider that the student is in study and on track to complete the course within the specified course duration.


  • Repayments will be on an income-contingent basis commencing on 6th April 2019 with repayments taken via HMRC.  
  • The UK repayment threshold will be £21,000 in tax year 2019/20. Those who are repaying from overseas will have a threshold applied which is based on the cost of living in their country of residence.
  • Postgraduate loan repayments will be paid concurrently with undergraduate loan repayments, at a rate of 6% of annual income over £21,000. Your undergraduate and postgraduate loans will be two separate loans.
  • Interest will be charged at RPI + 3%.

PhD Loans

The final details of the PhD loan scheme have yet to be anounced, although the plan is for loans .

Loans of up to £25,000 will be available without means-testing to students who are:

  • English-resident UK nationals
  • Aged under 60
  • Studying at any UK university
  • Not already in receipt of any Research Council funding

Repayment terms will be in line with those for master's-level postgraduate loans - you will pay 6% of any earnings over £21,000.

Learn more.

Student Application Process - PG Loan Scheme

Does the PG declaration allow a digital signature?

For Application Year 16/17 a signature is required, but the Student Loans Company are working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) regarding acceptance of a digital signature in the future.

Are all PG students including EU students able to apply online?

Yes, all students including EU students can apply online. There is also an application form that you can download and print.

How to apply for a postgraduate loan

Are students able to undertake an eligibility check before they apply?

There is not a specific tool to check eligibility, but introductory screens provide detail and guidance on eligibility.

Do students retain the same SSNs and CRNs from Undergraduate to Postgraduate?


Do students see or choose a qualification?

Students see postgraduate courses as entered via the Courses Management Service, the qualification is either Research Masters or Taught Masters.

Does the application have a maximum loan box?

Yes, there is a maximum loan tick box for both Year 1 and Year 2.
This is currently under review, with an intent to bring the application date forward, although there is no decision to date.

Will the application date of Summer 2016 be brought forward in future years ie 2017 onwards?

We would encourage students to apply as soon as possible, in line with the Summer 2016 launch.

Students can apply using their preferred choice of Provider and course. (It is not necessary to hold an offer).

Payment and Repayment of PG Loan

If a student has either outstanding repayment arrears or an outstanding UG grant overpayment on their account, will future Postgraduate Loan payments be blocked until arrears are cleared?
Grant - Grant overpayments do not affect any future loan eligibility including Postgraduate Loan.

Arrears - Applicants are not be eligible for PGL if they have outstanding arrears on any Higher- or Further Education loan balance. Once the arrears have been paid in full, the applicant can apply for Postgraduate Loan.

Overpayment - if a student owes an outstanding loan overpayment from a previous course of study, this overpayment is deducted from PGL entitlement unless the student can prove financial hardship.

Students are asked to provide details of two main contacts when submitting their application, in what context is this data be held /utilised?
Students are requested to provide details of two contacts residing at different addresses from each other as part of the loan application process. SLC use details of an individual we can contact if we lose touch with the student.

We understand the repayment process will be in place from AY19/20, will income assessment relate only to earnings from 19/20 onwards?

PGL is a not a means-tested product therefore income details are not required for assessing. From a repayment perspective, Postgraduate Loans will be repaid under income contingent repayment terms. The Statutory Repayment Due Date (SRDD) for PGL balances (full-time and part-time) will be 6th April following the course end date (or the withdrawal date where the student withdraws from the course). However no PGL balances will enter repayment status until 6 April 2019 at the earliest, even where the student completes or withdraws from the course prior to that date.
Part-time courses studied over three or four years will enter repayment status on 6 April following the second academic year of the course; however, the student will only make mandatory repayments where their income is above the repayment threshold.

If doing a course that is 3 or 4 years when do the repayments start?

The Statutory Repayment Due Date (SRDD) for PGL balances (full-time and part-time) will be 6 April following the course end date (or the withdrawal date where the student withdraws from the course, with or without a lower qualification).
However no PGL balances will enter repayment status until 6 April 2019 at the earliest, even where the student completes or withdraws from the course prior to that date.
The 'course end date' for Master's courses will be taken as the last day of the academic year (the second academic year where the course lasts two years or more).

Will the different repayment plans be shown separately on payslips?
The current proposal is that PGL will show as a separate deduction from any HE loan deductions on payslips. Further detail will be provided once confirmed.

Are students able to make voluntary payments prior to AY19/20?

Yes, a borrower can make voluntary repayments to their PGL balance at any time without charge or penalty, either before or after the loan balance has entered repayment status.