Welsh postgraduate funding is worth up to £17,000 in 2019/20 in a combination of grants and loans - more than is available in any other part of the UK
Welsh postgraduate loans at a glance
- Get up to £17,000 in 2019/20.
- A combination of grants and loans.
- For UK nationals ordinarily resident in Wales.
- Study a taught or research Masters course.
- Attend any UK university.
How much can I borrow?
The loan amount for the 2020/21 academic year has not yet been confirmed by the Welsh government.
Welsh postgraduate loans are worth up to £17,000 per course towards your tuition fees, study costs and living expenses. They are actually made up of a combination of non-repayable grants and repayable loans.
You can receive:
- a maximum grant of £6,885 and a loan of £10,115 if your household income is £18,370 or below
- a grant of £1,000 and a loan of £16,000 if your household income is above £59,200 (or if you choose not to take your income into account).
If your household income is between £18,370 and £59,200, the grant portion of your funding will be somewhere from £1,000 to £6,885, with a loan making the total up to £17,000. You don't have to borrow the maximum amount of loan that is available to you.
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.
If you're a European Union (EU) national, you're eligible if you:
- 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 worth a minimum of 180 credits and be studied at a UK university or by distance learning. It should start on or after 1 August 2019.
Full-time courses should take one or two academic years to complete. Part-time courses can take up to four years. You can't get a Welsh postgraduate loan for postgraduate diplomas (PGDip) or postgraduate certificates (PGCert). Separate Doctoral loans of up to £25,000 are available for PhDs.
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.
For distance learning, you must be living in Wales on the first day of the first academic year of your course and in the UK for the whole of your course.
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 grant and loan will be paid directly into your bank account. You'll receive three equal instalments throughout the academic year. If you're studying for more than one year, the total will be spread evenly throughout the years of your course.
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.