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Postgraduate Student Loans in Wales

Want to find out about student finance for postgraduate study in Wales? This nation also offers a postgraduate loan scheme – but only for students studying a full master's degree. Read on for our complete guide.

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How do I apply • How much can I get in 2018 • How is my loan received • What are the repayments like • Eligibility (you, the loan, your course) • EU students • Find out more

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How do I apply for a master's loan?

Postgraduate loan applications in Wales are made online or by post to Student Finance Wales. You need only apply once, and should apply as soon as you can in order to receive funds before your course begins. You can apply before your place is confirmed as you can update your details later. The last date for application is nine months after the first day of the last academic year of your course.

How much can I get as a postgraduate loan in 2018?

In Wales, students can apply for up to £13,000 as a loan for study at master's level. The loan is intended to cover any costs associated with your postgraduate study, whether tuition fees or your living costs. If you don’t require the maximum amount, you can request less.

While this loan is higher than that available elsewhere in the UK, the cost of master's tuition fees has also risen – some courses such as MBAs now cost more than the £13,000 on offer. Refer to our Reddin Survey of Tuition Fees as a guide.

How will my master's loan be received?

The loan is for the duration of your course, and will be split pro-rata if your course lasts longer than one year. The annual amount will then be paid in three instalments each year after the course start date, once your university has confirmed your registration.

Number of years of study

Full-time or part-time

What is the maximum amount I can get per year?

One

Full-time

£13,000

Two

Full-time

£6,500

Part-time

Three

Part-time

£4,333

Four

Part-time

£3,250

What are the loan repayments like?

You will repay your postgraduate loan at the same time as your undergraduate loan.

As with undergraduate loans, repayments will be made relative to income. Postgraduate loans in Wales are repaid at 6% on income above £21,000 per year. In other words, if you have an annual income of £30,000, you would repay 6% of the £9,000 above the £21,000 threshold. This works out as a monthly payment of £45 if you only have a master's loan.

If you already pay an undergraduate loan, the repayment terms are slightly different, at 9% above £25,000; so if you were earning £30,000 it would add an extra £37 to the monthly amount you pay, making a total of £82.

The amount you borrow is also subject to interest. In England and Wales, this is set at RPI+3%. RPI stands for 'retail price index' and is a measure of the rate of inflation. RPI+3% means that the interest paid on your loan will be the current RPI percentage, plus a further 3%.

Repayments will begin in April the year after you complete your course.

Millennium Centre , Cardiff , Wales

Eligibility

Personal criteria

To be eligible for a Welsh postgraduate loan, you must:

  • Be aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course (which could start in September, January, April or July).
  • Be a UK national or have 'settled status' (i.e. no restriction on how long you can stay).
  • Have lived in the UK for at least three years prior to the first day of the academic year in which your course begins, and normally live in Wales.

It’s important to remember that residency as a student and 'ordinary residence' are distinct from one another. If you have studied in Wales at undergraduate level but have moved from elsewhere in the UK to do so, this does not count as being ordinarily resident in Wales. Likewise, if you are ordinarily resident in Wales but have moved elsewhere in the UK to study at undergraduate level, this won’t affect your residency status.

Funding criteria

  • If you receive Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), this will be unaffected by a postgraduate loan. Eligibility for DSA is separate from other financial support, so you can receive both DSA and a postgraduate loan.
  • You can also apply for other funding from charities or trusts, as the loan is not means-tested.
  • If you are eligible for an NHS bursary, or have been awarded a Social Work Bursary, you cannot get a postgraduate loan.
  • If your course is eligible for undergraduate funding (such as an integrated master's, or initial teacher education/ITE) then you cannot apply for a postgraduate loan. Equally if it is combined with a doctoral degree, then you should apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan. A Master of Architecture (MArch) degree may be an exception, if you study part-time.
  • You can also only receive one postgraduate loan, so if you previously received a postgraduate loan elsewhere in the UK you will be ineligible – unless you had to stop studying for 'compelling personal reasons' such as bereavement or illness.

Course-based criteria

In addition to the above criteria, your course must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be a full masters-level qualification of 180 credits, not a top-up master's. It can be a taught or research-based course. This can include MSc, MA, MPhil, MRes, LLM, MLitt, MFA, MEd and MBA courses. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are not eligible.
  • It must be your first master's degree. If you already hold a master's qualification or higher, whether from the UK or overseas, you will not be able to apply for the master's loan – even if you didn't have a postgraduate loan before.
  • It must be provided by a university or college in the UK (including the Open University).
  • A master's course can be studied by distance learning, so long as the student is resident in Wales on the first day of the first academic year of their course, and lives in the UK thereafter (or for EU national, lives in Wales thereafter). The exception to this is where a student is in the armed forces (or a dependent relative of someone in the armed forces) and is posted outside of Wales.
  • Courses can be one to two years if studied full-time. Part-time courses can be from two to four year's duration.

What about EU students?

EU (European Union) students are eligible for postgraduate loans in Wales if they have been resident in the EU, EEA or Switzerland for at least three years prior to starting their course, will study in Wales, and are living there on the first day of their course. Note that if you have been resident in any of these areas purely for the purposes of education, this time will not count towards being eligible.

Brexit is not set to have any immediate impact on funding, with England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all confirming that EU students starting a degree in 2018 (and even 2019) will be eligible.

If you’re from outside the EU, it is unlikely that you will be eligible for a postgraduate loan; exceptions to this include those who have the right to permanently reside in the UK (e.g. having refugee status). 

Find out more or apply to get postgraduate student finance in Wales

Visit Student Finance Wales to find out more and apply for a master's loan in Wales
You'll need to either log in with your previous details if you've had a student loan before, or register to create an account.