Postgraduate Loans for Masters Students

Written By

Think Postgrad

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the maximum student loan you can apply for?
  • What if I need more than the maximum loan amount?
  • Can you combine different funding options?
  • Can I borrow less than £12,167 for my loan?

Students can cover the costs of their fees with a Postgraduate Loan for Masters Students. Take a look at the short video guide from Student Loans Company below. 



About the Postgraduate Loan

For courses starting in 2023, you can get up to £12,167 for your whole course. The postgraduate loan for masters students is paid directly to you, in installments during the course. It can be used as a contribution towards fees, or other study or living costs during the masters course, as you decide.

Who is eligible for a Postgraduate Loan for a masters?

  • You must be a UK National, or have settled status in the UK, and have been resident in the UK for three years on the first day of the academic year of your course start date. This must have most recently been resident in England.
  • You may also be eligible if you’re an EU national and been granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme if you have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for at least 3 years.
  • From 1 August 2021, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members who are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreements will no longer be eligible for home fee status postgraduate financial support and advanced learner loans from Student Finance England for courses starting 2021/22 or after.
  • You must be under 60 years old.
  • Eligibility is not based on income – the loan is not means tested.

Who is not eligible for the Postgraduate Masters Loan?

If you are a UK national, or have settled status or leave to remain in the UK but you ordinarily live outside England, ie in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, then you are not eligible. See below for details on Postgraduate Loans in other parts of the UK.

If you already have a Masters level qualification (or equivalent), or a higher level qualification, such as a PhD, you will not be eligible under Equivalent Level Qualification (ELQ) rules.

Types of courses covered by the Postgraduate Masters Loan

1. A qualification which is classed as either a taught, research, or professional masters – eg MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MRes, MEd, MMus, MDes etc

2. Full time masters courses, which are 50% part-time – ie a course that is one year full-time or two years part-time, or two years full-time and up to four years part-time will be covered by the loan. A course that is one year full-time but three years part-time will not be covered for part-time study.

3. Both campus based and online courses are covered by the loan, as long as the course is delivered by an officially funded institution in the UK, which is authorised to award its own degrees (ie has taught degree awarding powers).

Types of courses excluded from Postgraduate Loans

Courses that are not at full master’s level. These include postgraduate diplomas (PGDip) or certificates (PGCert), including PGCE, or a graduate certificate.

The Money (updated July 2023)

The current rate of interest on a masters loan is capped at 7.1%. This figure is reviewed every three months, so the rate is likely to rise in regular steps for the foreseeable future. Bear in mind that the interest accrued on your master loan is only payable once you have completed your course, and you meet the earnings threshold to start making repayments.

In 2022 The Government adjusted the way the interest is charged on postgraduate loans. Previously, the loan would attract an interest payment equal to the RPI (Retail Price Index) plus 3%, which meant the interest added to repayments (in 2021/22) was around 4.5%.

However, the sudden steep rise in the cost of living has increased the RPI, which meant that students could have been facing an increase of up to 12%.

You apply for a Postgraduate Loan for Masters Students via the Student Loans Company website.

  • The day the first loan installment goes in triggers the interest. You won’t start repayments until the April after you complete your course. If your income is less than £21,000 you will only start repayments once it reaches that level.
  • If you already have an outstanding undergraduate loan, you will have to pay the postgraduate loan off at the same time.
  • The Student Loans Company pays the loan in 3 installments across the year starting from your enrolment and confirmed by your university. You will be liable for all repayments if you leave your master’s course part way. If you switch to another course not covered by the loan the same applies.

For more information on how to apply visit the SFE website here

Postgraduate Loans in other parts of the UK


The system in Scotland is different from England. The Scottish Government offer Masters Loans, which cover tuition fees and some living expenses. You will need to apply through SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland) and must check that you meet the eligibility criteria. Further information for 2023/24 is available here.

The main differences are they will fund a Postgraduate Diploma and Masters level degree, but NOT a Postgraduate Certificate, PhD or Doctorate level course.

A tuition fee loan of up to £7,000 is available for full-time courses, to help pay for all or some of your tuition fees. Eligible full-time postgraduate students can also apply for a living-cost loan up to £4,500. However, the living-cost loan is not available to part-time postgraduate students or EU nationals coming to Scotland to study.

The living-cost loan is subject to eligibility conditions.

Northern Ireland

A Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan for Northern Ireland students is available for new and continuing students. Applications are invited for academic year 2023/24. Find out more here.


You can apply for a Postgraduate Loan in Wales if you’re starting a postgraduate Masters course in 2023/24. Eligibility for the loan depends on your nationality and residency. The funding available is a mixture of a loan and a grant to help with your course costs, and depends on your circumstances. Find out more here.

Is there a student loan for a PhD?

Yes. For information relating to the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan, see here.

What if I have more questions?

We suggest you talk to the universities you are applying to. To get regular updates on the loan and other Masters funding, register now for our newsletter. You can also check out the postgraduate loan video from Student Finance England.