In 2020/21, Scottish postgraduate loans are worth £10,000 in total, split into two separate pots of money to help with tuition fees and living costs

Scottish postgraduate loans at a glance

  • Tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 in 2020/21.
  • For PGDip and Masters degrees.
  • Living cost loan of up to £4,500 for full-time students.
  • For UK nationals resident in Scotland.
  • Study at a Scottish university.

How much can I borrow?

Scottish postgraduate loans are split into two distinct categories. There is a tuition fee loan worth up to £5,500 and a separate living cost loan of up to £4,500.

Neither of the loans are means-tested, so the amount you can borrow isn't affected by your financial background.

If the tuition fee loan isn't sufficient to pay your fees, you'll have to find other sources of funding to cover the difference.

Am I eligible for a Scottish postgraduate loan?

You must:

  • have lived in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for the last three years
  • be ordinarily resident in Scotland at the start of your course.

There is no age restriction on the tuition fee loan, but to get a living cost loan you need to be under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course. Part-time students can't get the living cost loan.

Meanwhile, you can't get the tuition fee loan if you've previously received funding for postgraduate study, but you may be able to access the living cost loan.

If you're a European Union (EU) national, you're eligible for a loan if you:

  • have been ordinarily resident in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for the three years before your course starts
  • study at a Scottish university.

However, EU nationals can only apply for the tuition fee loan, not the living cost loan.

Is my course eligible?

Taught Masters degrees and postgraduate diplomas (PGDip) are covered by Scottish postgraduate loans. PhDs are not eligible.

If you're studying full time, diplomas must be no longer than one-year in length and Masters degrees no longer than two years.

Part-time students can get the tuition fee loan, as long their course is no more than twice the length of its full-time equivalent, i.e. up to four years for a Masters degree and two years for a PGDip. Don't forget, part-time students can't get the living cost loan.

You'll need to study at a Scottish university. However, if no institutions in Scotland offer your chosen course you can study elsewhere in the UK. The exception is that EU nationals must study in Scotland to be eligible.

Although previously ineligible, you can now get a Scottish postgraduate loan if you're studying by distance learning.

How do I apply?

Apply online via the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). The closing date for applications for 2020/21 is 31 March 2021 (in other words, you can still apply even after your course has started).

In general, you should apply before the end of June for your funding to be ready for the beginning of a course starting in August/September.

You will need information including your National Insurance number, course details and evidence of how you meet the residency requirements.

Applications for tuition fee loans are only valid for one academic year. If your course lasts more than one year, you must apply separately in each year of the course.

How will I receive my loan?

The tuition fee loan is paid to the university on your behalf, while the living cost loan is paid directly into your bank account in instalments.

When do I start repaying my loan?

From the April after your course ends, you'll repay 9% of any income you earn over £19,390 per year - although the Scottish government have committed to raising this threshold to £25,000 from April 2021.

If you had a Scottish undergraduate student loan, this will be combined with your postgraduate loan and you'll make a single monthly payment of 9% towards both debts.

If you're employed and earning over the income threshold, repayments will be taken automatically out of your salary. If you're self-employed, your repayments will be part of your self-assessment tax return.

Interest will be charged on your loan from the time the first instalment is paid to you or your university. The rate of interest is linked to the retail price index (RPI) measure of inflation.

For more information, see SAAS - Repaying the student loan.

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