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Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) are one of the most common ways of funding postgraduate study. With up to £10,000 available for certain types of study, they are an option well worth investigating for eligible postgraduates
Provided by two high-street banks - Barclays and The Co-operative - PCDLs are available to anyone aged 18 or over who has lived in the UK for three years prior to taking out the loan, regardless of whether they are employed or not.
PCDLs provide £300 to £10,000 for postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs. The loan can be used to pay for 80% of your course fees plus related costs such as books, travel and childcare. If you have been unemployed for three months or longer prior to your course beginning, you can apply for the full cost of your course fees. If you're employed for less than 30 hours a week you can also apply for money to cover living costs.
If your course is longer than two years, you can only use a PCDL to fund part of it. In this situation it's best to arrange your loan so that it covers the final two years of the course to ensure you don't have to make repayments until you've finished training. Similarly, if you've received a grant which covers part of your course fees, your PCDL will only cover the remaining cost of your course, plus living costs.
Applicants must live and train in the UK and intend to work in the UK, EU, Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland once training is complete. Further information can be obtained from either of the banks, by calling the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900 or from GOV.UK - Professional and Career Development Loans .
The interest on the loan is paid by the Skills Funding Agency for the duration of the course and for one month after completion. You will agree a repayment plan with the bank prior to the loan being processed, which is normally over the course of a number of years. Interest rates for repayments are set at a fixed rate which is competitive with other loans.
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