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Postgraduate tuition fee and living cost loans in Scotland let you borrow up to £10,000 for a Masters degree or Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) at any UK university. Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) provides the Masters funding to you on behalf of the Student Loans Company. You only pay it back after you graduate and earn over £19,390 a year.
|Overview:||Student loans for full-time, part-time and distance learning Masters and PGDip courses.|
|Value:||Up to £10,000.|
|Eligibility:||UK nationals resident in Scotland.|
|Location:||Any UK university (if course is not available in Scotland).|
|Repayment:||9% of annual income over £19,390. Interest at 1.1%.|
|Application:||Now open for 2020-21 courses. Applications for 2021-22 courses will open in summer 2021.|
The Scottish postgraduate loan offers a maximum of £10,000, split into in two parts:
SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland) will split the money evenly across your course as follows:
|Course length||1 year||2 years||3 years||4 years|
|Tuition fee loan||£5,500||£2,750||£1,833||£1,375|
|Living cost loan||£4,500||£2,250||-||-|
|Based on maximum loan value, with figures rounded to the nearest £1. Living-cost loans are not available for courses lasting longer than two years.|
Each year's loan will be paid to you (or your university) in regular instalments.
The value of your tuition fee loan will be capped at the level of your tuition fees, up to the maximum of £5,500. You can’t request more than your course costs and you can’t borrow extra for a course that costs more than £5,500. You can request less than the maximum if you like (for example, if you’d rather use other funding, income or savings for part of your fees).
It’s up to you how much you borrow for your living cost loan. The money isn’t means-tested or based on your credit history.
If you'd like to find out more about Scottish Masters loan amounts, we've covered a range of FAQs below.
No. You decide how much tuition fee loan and / or living-cost loan you’d like to request, up to the maximum.
The value of your tuition fee loan is linked to your course fees. You can’t borrow more than the cost of your degree and won’t receive any ‘remaining’ money.
You can’t borrow any more than £5,500 with the tuition fee loan, regardless of how much your fees are. You will have to make up the difference with savings, income or other postgraduate funding.
Yes. The living cost loan is paid directly to your bank account. This means you can use the money as you wish, including to top up your tuition fee loan.
Provided you apply by 30 June 2020, SAAS should be able to ensure your tuition fee loan reaches your university in time to cover initial fees.
The first instalment of your living cost loan should also arrive close to the start date for your course. Subsequent instalments will be spread evenly across your degree.
You can receive a postgraduate loan in addition to most other postgraduate funding, provided it isn’t provided by the Scottish Government (or the UK Government).
If you receive funding from the NHS or another public body (such as the UK Research Councils) you should check whether it affects your eligibility for a postgraduate loan.
You won’t normally be able to receive a tuition fee loan if you’ve already had government funding (including another UK postgraduate loan) for a previous postgraduate course.
However, you may still be eligible for a living cost loan for a new Masters or Postgraduate Diploma.
To get a Scottish postgraduate loan you need to be a UK student, studying an eligible course at a UK university. More specific criteria apply to each of the loans.
To get a tuition fee loan you must:
To get a living cost loan you must:
In order to qualify as ordinarily resident in Scotland you must live there normally (not just when you are at university). Different loans are available for postgraduate students from other parts of the UK.
You may be able to apply if you aren’t a UK citizen, but are:
Check with SAAS if you aren’t sure about your eligibility criteria. You can also seek advice from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).
In the 2021-22 academic year, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for Scottish postgraduate loans or ‘home’ fees.
As of January 2021, the Scottish government hasn’t announced whether Irish nationals will be able to continue their eligibility for Scottish postgraduate finance under the Common Travel Agreement (England, Wales and Northern Ireland have confirmed that Irish students will be entitled to UK student finance after Brexit, however).
If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss student that began a Masters in the 2020-21 academic year, you’ll be eligible for Scottish postgraduate finance for the duration of your course.
Want to find out more about eligibility for postgraduate loans in Scotland? We've written several FAQs on what to look out for.
No. Neither the tuition fee loan or the living-cost loan are means tested. Your eligibility isn’t affected by your income and savings (or your parents’).
No. Your personal credit rating will not affect your eligibility for a Scottish postgraduate loan.
However, your application may be refused if you have had a previous student loan and missed repayments that were due. You may also be deemed ‘unsuitable for student finance’ if you have been found guilty of committing fraud in the past.
You must be aged 59 or younger on the first day of the first academic year of your course to qualify for the living-cost loan. This date will normally be as follows:
|Course starts between||First day of academic year|
|1st August - 31st December||1st September|
|1st January - 31st March||1st January|
|1st April - 30th June||1st April|
|1st July - 31st July||1st July|
There is no age limit for the tuition fee loan.
To be eligible for a Scottish postgraduate loan as a UK student you must be ordinarily resident in Scotland at the start of your course. This means that Scotland is where you normally live and you haven’t moved there just to go to university.
You will normally count as being ordinarily resident in Scotland if any or all of the following are true:
You will still count as being ordinarily resident in Scotland (living elsewhere to study doesn’t affect your residency).
Living and working in a different part of the UK means you aren’t just there to go to university. This can change your residency status.
If you aren’t sure about your residency status, check with SAAS.
You’ll normally need to have been living in the UK for three years prior to the start of your course in order to be eligible for a postgraduate loan.
However, an exception may be made if you were living abroad temporarily for a period of work or study. Check with SAAS before you apply.
From the 2021-22 academic year onwards, EU, EEA (Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein) and Swiss students will usually only be eligible for postgraduate loans if they were living in the UK before 31 December 2020 and have applied for EU settled status.
Students from countries outside the UK aren't usually eligible for Scottish postgraduate loans.
Exceptions may apply if you’re an EU national with EU settled status in the UK, have lived in the UK legally for a very long time, have been granted humanitarian protection or have refugee status.
For more information on UK fees and finance as a postgraduate student we recommend you check the resources produced by UKCISA.
And, if you can't get a postgraduate loan, you might still be eligible for other international Masters funding.
You can get a Scottish postgraduate loan for a taught or research Masters degree or Postgraduate Diploma in any subject. Previously, only taught Masters were eligible for Scottish postgraduate loans. Funding has been extended to research Masters (such as MRes or MPhil degrees).
You can study full time or part time at any university in Scotland. Or, you can study full-time at another UK university, provided you are ordinarily resident in the UK and your course is not available in Scotland.
The length of your course depends on whether you study full time or part time:
|Full time||Part time|
|Masters||2 years||4 years|
|Postgraduate Diploma||1 year||2 years|
Part-time courses cannot last for more than twice the length of an equivalent full-time option. Distance learning courses are also eligible.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about course eligibility.
Yes. Scottish postgraduate loans are now available for research Masters, including MRes degrees and research-based MLitt degrees.
Yes. Scottish postgraduate loans are now available for research Masters, including MPhil degrees. However, the loan isn't available to students registering for an MPhil as with the intention to upgrade to a PhD. The MPhil must be the qualification you intend to graduate with.
UK-resident students can study full time anywhere in the UK, provided their course isn’t available in Scotland (part-time courses are only funded at Scottish universities). Irish students can only use the loan to study at a Scottish university.
Yes. Scotland offers an extra ‘plus one’ year of postgraduate loan funding if you need to repeat part of your course. You can only receive this additional student finance once (both undergraduate and postgraduate study count towards that limit).
You can take your remaining loan with you to a new course, but should notify SAAS if you plan to transfer.
You may also be able to use your ‘plus one’ year to start a new postgraduate course or extend your funding for it, provided you have not previously graduated with a postgraduate qualification.
You should apply for a Scottish postgraduate loan online at the SAAS website. You’ll need to provide details of the course you’ll be studying as well as your national insurance (NI) number and details of your address history (to show that you meet the necessary residency and eligibility criteria).
The deadline for applications for 2020-21 courses is 31 March 2021.
You can find more information and advice in our postgraduate loan application guide.
If you have another query about applications for Scottish postgraduate loans, we may have answered it in the FAQs below.
You must make a new application for your tuition fee loan in each year of your course; you only need to apply once for your living-cost loan.
If you already have an account with SAAS you must use this when you apply for a postgraduate loan. If you have another UK student finance account you should check that you are applying to the right provider. It may be necessary to apply for your Scottish loan by post. Contact SAAS to confirm this.
You’ll be liable to repay your postgraduate loan from 6 April, the year after you graduate.
Your repayments will be calculated using an income-contingent system. You’ll repay 9% of what you earn over £19,390 a year before tax (£1,577 per month before tax).
How you repay will depend on your employment status:
If you already have a Scottish undergraduate loan your two repayments will be combined (you’ll make one smaller repayment towards a larger loan balance, instead of two equal repayments towards separate balances).
You will pay interest on your loan at a rate linked to inflation. The current rate is 1.1%. This interest will begin accumulating as soon as your first loan instalments are paid.
Any unpaid loan balance (including interest) will be cancelled after 30 years (following your graduation).
Check out the FAQs about postgraduate loan repayments below.
You will begin repaying your Scottish postgraduate loan from 6 April in the year after you graduate, provided you are earning more than £19,390 a year.
The format for your repayments will stay the same (they will be income-contingent, with interest linked to a measure of inflation). However, the exact threshold and interest rates can change as follows:
We aim to keep this page updated with any changes, but you should always confirm the current details with SAAS before applying for a loan.
Do you have a specific question about the Scottish postgraduate loans that you can’t find the answer to in our guide? Get in touch with us by emailing editor[at]findamasters.com and we’ll do our best to help.
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Last updated - 06/01/2021