In 2017/18 you can get a loan of up to £10,280 to study an eligible postgraduate course, but there will be significant changes to the system in Wales from 2018/19
Welsh postgraduate loans at a glance
- Borrow up to £10,280 in 2017/18.
- For UK nationals ordinarily resident in Wales.
- Study a taught or research Masters course.
- Attend any UK university.
- Major funding changes from 2018/19 onwards.
How much can I borrow?
Welsh postgraduate loans are worth up to £10,280 per course towards your tuition fees, study costs and living expenses.
This loan is not means-tested, meaning the amount you can receive is not dependent on your financial background. You can choose how much you want to borrow, up to the maximum.
Am I eligible for a Welsh postgraduate loan?
- be a UK national or have settled status
- normally live in Wales
- have lived in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for the past three years
- be under 60 years of age on the first day of the first academic year of your course
- not already hold a Masters degree or higher qualification.
European Union (EU) nationals may be eligible if you:
- live in Wales on the first day of the first year of your course
- have normally lived in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for the past three years
- study your postgraduate course in Wales.
You may also be able to get a loan if you are a refugee (or a relative of one), have been granted discretionary leave to remain in the UK, are an EEA or Swiss migrant worker, a child of a Swiss national or the child of a Turkish worker.
If you can't get a postgraduate loan, consider other sources of funding.
Is my course eligible?
Your course should be a full standalone taught or research Masters degree studied at a UK university or by distance learning.
Full-time courses should be one or two academic years long. Part-time courses can be up to four years, but no more than twice the length of the equivalent full-time programme - or a maximum of three years if no equivalent full-time course is available.
You can't get a Welsh postgraduate loan for PhDs, postgraduate diplomas (PGDip) or postgraduate certificates (PGCert).
Courses that qualify for undergraduate funding - such as Initial Teacher Education (ITE), integrated Masters and the Master of Architecture (MArch) - are not eligible for postgraduate loans. You also can't get a postgraduate loan if you're eligible for NHS funding or a Social Work Bursary.
The loan can only be used for full Masters courses, not to top-up a lower-level qualification (such as a PGDip or PGCert) to a Masters.
How do I apply?
Apply for a Welsh postgraduate loan online at Student Finance Wales. Only apply once for your entire course, not each academic year.
You can apply before your place at university is confirmed and then change your course details later. Complete the online form, provide any evidence requested, and sign and return the declaration. You'll need your passport details, course information, bank details and National Insurance number.
It is possible to apply for a loan after your course has started. Paper application forms are available from Student Finance Wales if you are unable to apply online.
How will I receive my loan?
Your loan will be paid directly into your bank account. You'll receive three equal instalments throughout the academic year.
If you're studying for longer than one year, the funding will be split evenly across the length of your course. For example, if you borrow the full amount for a two-year course you'll receive three instalments totalling £5,140 in the first year and three instalments totalling £5,140 in the second.
When do I start repaying my loan?
You'll start repaying your postgraduate loan in the April after your course finishes at a rate of 6% of any income you earn over £21,000. As the loans are still a new product, no repayments will be due before April 2019.
Interest will be charged on your loan from the date you receive the first instalment. This will be calculated at the retail price index (RPI) +3%, meaning that the interest accrued will be the annually-reviewed RPI percentage, plus an additional 3%.
If you leave your course or switch to an ineligible course, you'll have to repay what you have borrowed so far and the income threshold won't apply - you must start repaying straight away.
Postgraduate loans have to be repaid concurrently with your undergraduate student loan. This means that you may find yourself repaying up to 15% of your income over £21,000, i.e. 9% for your undergraduate loan and 6% for you postgraduate loan.
What is changing in 2018/19?
The Welsh government has announced that a new system of postgraduate funding will be introduced from the 2019/20 academic year. Details will be released in due course.
However, an interim system is being put in place for those studying at postgraduate level in 2018/19. This will include an enhanced loan of up to £13,000 available to students who are ordinarily resident in Wales and studying anywhere in the UK. Additional support will be directed through Welsh universities for those who choose to study in Wales, equivalent to around £4,000 per student.
This page will be updated as further details are announced of what funding will be available in 2018/19 and 2019/20.