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Posted on 7 Dec '17

Postgraduate Loans - Updates for 2018

Considering a Masters degree in the UK next year? You're probably aware of the various postgraduate loan schemes offered across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Well, the good news is that the maximum value of the English postgraduate loans has been increased from £10,280 to £10,609 for students starting a Masters in 2018-19.

We'd expected this change, but it's good to see it confirmed. This blog explains the details and provides a quick FAQ for students considering a loan next year.

Why £10,609?

It seems like a fairly arbitrary amount, but it isn't. The Government has simply increased the loans in line with forecast inflation (currently measured at 3.2%).

The same process was used last year to increase the loans from £10,000 to £10,280, but that's not important. Unless you're considering a Masters dissertation on the history of the UK's postgraduate loan system. Which I'm pretty sure you aren't.

Is this just for English students?

It's for students who are eligible for the English postgraduate loan system, so: UK citizens ordinarily resident in England and EU students studying or living in England (more on that in a moment).

Basically, if you were already able to apply for an English postgraduate loan next year the amount you can borrow just went up by a little bit. So that's nice.

I already have a postgraduate loan, can I borrow more?

Unfortunately not. This increase will only apply to students starting a new Masters in the 2018-19 academic year. You can still take a postgraduate loan for a Masters that began in 2017-18, but its maximum value will be capped at 2017-18 levels (£10,280).

What about the UK's other postgraduate loan schemes?

Details haven't been confirmed across the board(ers)* but I'd expect the value of loans in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to go up too.

In fact, Wales has already announced that its loans will be worth £13,000 in 2018-19 (up from £10,280). Scotland is also working on a review of its student support system.

As always, there'll more information here on FindAMasters when new details are confirmed.

Does this increase apply to EU students?

Yes. EU students are eligible for UK postgraduate loans if they start a course in 2018-19 (this has been guaranteed regardless of Brexit). If you ordinarily live in England, or are heading to England to study a Masters next year, the amount you can borrow will also increase to £10,609.

Will any of this affect PhD loans?

Not directly, no. PhD loans are due in England and Wales next year, with a maximum value of £25,000. This amount was actually set back in 2015, but it doesn't look set to increase based on inflation in the meantime.

Will repayment thresholds change?

The Government will raise repayment thresholds for undergraduate loans from April 2018, but this won't apply to postgraduate loans. It's possible that this might change with further announcements. Speaking of which. . .

Is anything else happening?

Yes. Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) will also increase by 3.2% (forecast inflation again) to £10,993 for 2018-19.

More intriguingly, the Government has announced that further details of student finance arrangements will be published 'in due course'. As to when, exactly, my guess is currently as good as yours, but it seems reasonable to expect details earlier in the new year, rather than later.

Where can I find out more?

You can read the full Government statement, if you like (it's not very interesting). You can also check our guides to the various UK postgraduate loans.

Finally, if you aren't already, you might want to consider signing up to our postgraduate study newsletter. We'll use it to let you know about any changes to fees and funding as well as other important news for future postgrads.

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