Welsh postgraduate loans are worth up to £13,000 in 2018/19 - more than in any other country of the UK - and there is some bonus funding available if you study in Wales

Welsh postgraduate loans at a glance

  • Borrow up to £13,000 in 2018/19.
  • For UK nationals ordinarily resident in Wales.
  • Study a taught or research Masters course.
  • Attend any UK university.
  • Additional funding to study at a Welsh university.

How much can I borrow?

Welsh postgraduate loans are worth up to £13,000 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?

You must:

  • 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.

If you're a European Union (EU) national, you're 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 take one or two academic years to complete. Part-time courses can take 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.

The deadline for applying is nine months after the first day of the last academic year of your postgraduate course. In other words, 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 £6,500 in the first year and three instalments totalling £6,500 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.

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.

Additional funding to study in Wales

Welsh postgraduate loans are for Welsh-resident students studying anywhere in the UK. However, you may be able to get extra funding if you choose to study at a university in Wales.

Provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), this money is being given to Welsh universities, which can then pass it on to students in the form of student bursaries or tuition fee waivers worth up to £3,400 per student.

This funding is not a loan, so you won't have to pay it back. You'll still be able to get a Welsh postgraduate loan as well, if you want. Check your chosen Welsh university's website for further details and deadlines for accessing this funding.

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