Student Loans from the SLC* for Postgraduate students

(Please note that international students are not eligible for this loan)

The Government, through the Student Loans Company (SLC), is offering Postgraduate Loans of up to £10,280 for eligible students who are studying a standalone taught or research Masters course of 180 credits, commencing between August 2017 and July 2018/

For courses starting from August 2018 onwards the Masters loan will be increased to a maximum of £10,609

These loans will be a contribution towards the costs associated with completing a Postgraduate Masters course and can be used towards tuition fees or living costs as you decide. The loan is non means tested and will be paid directly to you, the student, rather than the University.

As the loan is not sufficient to cover both your tuition fees and livings costs, it is important that you source funding in addition to the loan, to ensure you can cover all costs before starting your course.

The University has to confirm your registration to the SLC to release your Masters Loan. However, due to the data checking that is required by the SLC, this confirmation can take two to three weeks from when you are fully registered with us for your course.

Basic eligibility criteria

How and when will I receive the money/loan?

Repayment terms

If you have any questions

If your home is in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Basic eligibility criteria 

  • You must be a UK national, or have settled status with the UK, AND have been resident in the UK for three years before the first day of the academic year of your course (please note this date is 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July whichever precedes the actual start date of the course)
  • You must most recently have been resident in England and you must not have moved there from elsewhere in the UK and Islands solely for the purposes of attending the course
  • If you move straight from an undergraduate course to a postgraduate course you must apply to the original awarding authority. For example, if Student Finance Wales funded your undergraduate course you must apply to them for postgraduate funding, not Student Finance England. 
  • Postgraduate Masters education provision is a devolved matter for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and therefore those who are ordinarily resident in the Devolved Administrations will not be eligible for the loan - see below
  • Non-UK EU students who have been ordinarily resident anywhere in the EEA/Switzerland for the 3 years prior so the start of the course, but do not meet the requirements to be assessed as an English student, (see above) and are resident in England on the first day of the academic year (see above) are eligible to apply for the loan - please contact Student Finance England for clarification.
  • Eligibility for the amount of loan will not be based on a means test
  • If you already hold a Masters (or higher) level qualification you will not be eligible for the loan
  • You must be under 60 years of age on the first day of the academic year of the course (eg if you start in September this date will be 1 September)
  • The Masters course you are studying must be a standalone, eligible course of 180 credits. Recognition of other Learning (ROL) or Accredited Prior Learning (APL or APEL) credits used towards the Masters course will make you ineligible for the loan, as you will no longer be studying 180 credits. The University will inform the SLC if ROL/APL/APEL is carried into the Masters course
  • You will be unable to take out the Postgraduate Loan if you are in receipt of a Bursary from the NHS or Social Work Bursary for your course; if you are 'topping up' a previous postgraduate qualification eg PGDip or if you are transferring to a new course in August 2017 or 2018 where you originally started on a Masters course before august 2016.
  • You can take out the loan for both full time (1 or 2 years) and part time courses which take no longer than twice as long as the full time equivalent, e.g. 2 or 4 years. Distance Learning courses are also eligible as long as you live in England while studying
  • You will be able to apply online from June/July time at and, if you took out loans for your undergraduate course, make sure you have your Customer Reference Number to hand. Paper forms will also be available to download
  • If, when you apply for funding, you are unable to find your course listed, please contact the University to check it's eligibility

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How and when will I receive the money/loan?

Full time courses

  • Full time Masters courses are usually one year long, but can be over two years, eg Master of Social Work
  • If you are studying on a one year course you will receive the loan amount in three instalments during the academic year
  • The first instalment will be released when the University confirms your registration to the Student Loans Company; within 2-3 weeks of you being fully registered on your course
  • The second and third instalments will be paid on the last Wednesday of the 4th and 7th months after your course start date (eg if you start in September you should receive payments in September/October, January and April)
  • If your full time course is over two years the loan will be paid in six instalments over the two years
  • The University has to confirm your Registration to the SLC to release the payments to you in a similar way as for undergraduates. However, we also have to verify that the course information held by the SLC matches with the course you have commenced at the University as well as other data checks. If these additional checks are incorrect the University is unable to confirm your registration until they have been amended.


Part time courses

  • If you are studying part time over two years, you will receive 50% of the loan in year one (in three instalments) and 50% of the loan in year two (in three instalments)
  • If you are studying part time over 4 years (where the full time course takes 2 years), you will receive 25% of the loan in year one (in three instalments) and 25% of the loan in subsequent years (each year paid in three instaments) 
  • You can apply for the loan up to nine months from the first day of the final year of your course

Important information about which course to select when you apply for your loan - part time students only

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Repayment terms 

  • Interest will be calculated at RPI+3% and will accrue from the date the first loan instalment is paid by SLC to you
  • Repayment will commence once you graduate (or leave) University and have an annual income of £21,000 or more (this threshold is frozen until 2021)
  • You will pay 6% of your income above the threshold to the loan. Repayments will be made alongside the repayment of any outstanding undergraduate loan
  • Repayments will be due in the April after course completion, subject to your income being above the threshold. You can make voluntary payments if you wish
  • Any outstanding Postgraduate Loan balance will be written off after 30 years

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Any questions?

If you have any questions about the loan please call a member of the Funding & Financial Support team on 0115 823 2071 or email us at 


Other sources of funding

If you are not eligible for the new loans please ensure that before signing up for a course you investigate the funding available, for example through Research Councils, Studentships, Professional & Career Development Loans and charitable trusts.   

Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland

Student Finance Wales

Offering a loan of up to £10,280 paid to the student only:

  • Non-income assessed
  • Residence - as per Welsh undergraduates
  • EU students eligible when studying in Wales
  • 3 year address history required
  • under 60 on first day of the first academic year


Student Finance Northern Ireland (NI)

Offering a loan of up to £5,500 to be paid towards tuition fees only:

  • Paid direct to the Higher Edication Provider
  • Non-income assessed
  • Paid back in the same way as advised above
  • no age limit
  • NI domiciled students with settled status in the UK
  • Ordinarily resident in the UK & Islands for 3 years prior to the start of the course
  • Ordinarily resident in NI prior to the start of the course
  • EU students eligible but must be taking course in NI
  • Instalments split to 25%, 25% and 50%


Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)

Offering a loan of up to £10,000:

  • £5,500 tuition fee loan paid to Higher Education Providers
  • £4,500 towards living costs paid to the student (age restricition)
  • UK nationals ordinarily resident in Scotland
  • EU students studying in Scotland - maximum £5,500 tuition fee loan only
  • All other rules in line with current postgraduate support from SAAS


Please note: If you move straight from an undergraduate course to a postgraduate course you must apply to the original awarding authority eg: If Student Finance Wales funded your undergraduate course you must apply to them for postgraduate funding. 

*SLC- Student Loans Company