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 Loan

For courses starting in 2021, you can get up to £11,570 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.

Maximum loans for new students starting postgraduate master’s degree courses in 2022/23 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.3%) to £11,836.

Who is eligible for the Postgraduate Masters Loan?

  • 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

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 

  • 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.
  • Loan interest is calculated at RPI+3%, and the repayment rate, once you start repayments is at 6%. The undergraduate loan is set at 9% (so the PG loan is lower). Your income must be above the £21,000 income threshold to start paying.
  • 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 Scottish Government confirmed plans for £10,000 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 2021/22 is available here.

Northern Ireland

A Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan for Northern Ireland students is available for new and continuing students. The only way to know how much you may be eligible for is to submit your application, you could receive up to £5,500. Applications for academic year 2021/22 are now open. Find out more here.


You can apply for a Postgraduate Loan in Wales if you’re starting a postgraduate Masters course in 2021/22. You could get up to £18,025 to help towards your course and living costs. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum student loan you can apply for?

In the UK, the maximum student loan you can receive from the UK government for the academic years 2021/22  is £11,570. This is from the Postgraduate Masters Loan. This will rise with inflation in 2022/23. A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan is also available.

What if I need more than the maximum loan amount?

The cost of studying for a masters varies between Universities and courses and when you factor in living costs it’s likely you will need other sources of funding. Check out our postgraduate funding opportunities for more information.

Can you combine different funding options?

Yes. You can combine funding from grants, bursaries and postgraduate scholarships with your Postgraduate Masters Loan.

Check out the Masters Compare Scholarship for some additional funding information.

Can I borrow less than £11,570 for my loan?

Yes. You can borrow any value up to the maximum loan amount of £11,570. This amount will rise in 2022/23