Postgraduate Loans in Wales | FindAMasters.com
  • Northumbria University Featured Masters Courses
  • Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Bristol Featured Masters Courses
  • Birmingham City University Featured Masters Courses
  • Cardiff University Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Northampton Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Surrey Featured Masters Courses
Cranfield University Featured Masters Courses
EURECOM Featured Masters Courses
Imperial College London Featured Masters Courses
University of Warwick Featured Masters Courses
Swansea University Featured Masters Courses

Postgraduate Loans in Wales


Wales offers postgraduate loans of up to £13,000 for taught and research Masters students, plus additional funding for some students to study in Wales. Applications are now open for 2018-19.

If you normally live in Wales you can apply for a loan to study anywhere in the UK. If you’re an EU student you can apply for a loan to come and study in Wales.

The loan is provided by Student Finance Wales on behalf of the Student Loans Company. You’ll start repaying it after you graduate, provided you are earning over £21,000 a year.

On this page


Welsh Masters loans - at a glance
Overview: Student loans for full-time, part-time and distance learning Masters degrees in all subjects (taught or research).
Value: Up to £13,000 (plus additional funding for students in Wales).
Eligibility: UK nationals resident in England. EU nationals resident in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
Location: Any UK university.
Repayment: 6% of annual income over £21,000. Interest at RPI+3%.
Application: Now open for 2018-19 courses.

What can I borrow?

You can get up to £13,000 with a Welsh postgraduate loan for a course starting in 2018-19 (students who started their Masters in 2017-18 can borrow up to £10,280).

The money is not means tested and is paid to you (not your university) in regular instalments during your course. It’s up to you to use it for tuition fees and living costs, as necessary (there is no separate postgraduate maintenance loan).

You decide how much you want to borrow (up to the maximum) and this money is divided evenly across your course and paid in three instalments per academic year.

You’ll get:

  • 33% at or near your course start date (once your university confirms your registration)
  • 33% on the last Wednesday of the 4th month of your course
  • 34% on the last Wednesday of the 7th month of your course

The value of each instalment depends on how much loan you request and how long your course is.

The following are approximate instalments for students who take the full Welsh postgraduate loan:


Postgraduate loan payments
Course length 1 year 2 years 3 years 4 years
Annual amount £10,609 £5,305 £3,536 £2,652
1st payment £3,501 £1,751 £1,167 £875
2cnd payment £3,501 £1,751 £1,167 £875
3rd payment £3,607 £1,804 £1,202 £902
All values rounded to the nearest £1

You may also be eligible for additional funding to study in Wales. The eligibility criteria for this support is the same as for the postgraduate loan, but the money is separate and doesn’t need to be paid back.

Around £3,400 per student may be available, but it’s up to individual Welsh universities to decide how to allocate the money.

Am I eligible?

Postgraduate loans in Wales are available to:

  • UK students who have lived in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for the past three years and are ordinarily resident in Wales (not just living there to go to university)
  • EU students who have in the EU (including the UK), EEA or Switzerland for the past three years (eligibility isn’t affected by Brexit)

In addition, you’ll need to:

  • Be aged under 60 (59 or younger) on the first day of the first academic year of your course (this will normally be 1 September for courses beginning in the Autumn)
  • Not hold a Masters degree (or higher qualification) regardless of how it was funded

Finally, you’ll need to be studying an eligible Masters degree.

Loans may sometimes be available to international students (from outside the EU) if one of the following criteria applies:

  • You are the child of either a Swiss national or Turkish worker
  • You or a family member are an EEA or Swiss worker in the UK
  • You or a family member have been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK

It’s best to check with Student Finance Wales if you think you may qualify for a loan as a non-EU national, but aren’t sure.

You won’t normally be eligible for a Welsh Masters degree loan if you’re a UK student who normally lives in another part of the UK. However, separate postgraduate loans are available for students from Northern Ireland, England and Scotland.

Welsh loan FAQs

Got a question about postgraduate loans in Wales and can't see it answered in the main guide? Why not check to see if we've covered it in the detailed FAQs at the bottom of this page.

Is my course eligible?

Welsh postgraduate loans are available for taught and research Masters degrees in all subjects, provided they meet the following criteria:

  • Your course must award a Masters, not a shorter Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma or a doctorate (such as a PhD)
  • Your course must be a postgraduate programme, not an integrated Masters or other undergraduate course
  • Your course must be for a full 180 credit degree, not a short period of study to ‘top up’ an existing qualification to Masters level

Courses can be studied full time, part time or by distance learning:

  • Full-time courses can last for 1-2 years
  • Part-time courses can last for1-4, but not for more than twice the length of an equivalent full-time course (or three years if no full-time equivalent exists)
  • Distance learning courses can be full time or part time, but you must be living in Wales on the first day of your course and the rest of your Masters must be studied from within the UK (UK-resident students) or Wales (EU students)

UK-resident students can study at any UK university, but may be eligible for extra funding to study in Wales. EU students coming to the UK for their degree can only use a Welsh postgraduate loan to study in Wales.

How do I apply?

You can apply for a Welsh postgraduate loan online now. You can also download an application form to apply by post.

You’ll need to provide details of your identity and the course you plan to study, plus information on your address history. You’ll also need to have a UK bank account.

If you already have an account with Student Finance Wales you should use it for your postgraduate loan application.

The deadline for applying is quite relaxed: you must submit your application no later than nine months from the beginning of your final year.

This will normally be:


Postgraduate loan application deadlines
Course begins Deadline
1st August to 31st December Nine months from 1st September
1st January to 31st March Nine months from 1st January
1st April to 30th June Nine months from 1st April
1st July to 31st July Nine months from 1st July

You only need to apply once for a postgraduate loan, however you can change the amount you wish to borrow later in your course.

You can find more information and advice in our postgraduate loan application guide.

How do repayments work?

Your repayments will begin in April 2019, provided you’ve graduated (or finished studying your course).

The amount you repay is linked to your income: you’ll only repay 6% of what you earn over £21,000 a year (£1,750 a month).

How you repay depends on your employment circumstances:

  • If you are employed in the UK, your repayments will be taken automatically from your salary by HMRC (at the same time as your income tax and national insurance)
  • If you are self-employed in the UK, HMRC will collect your repayments as part of your annual tax return
  • If you work outside the UK you will need to contact the Student Loans Company to arrange your repayments
  • If you are unemployed you won’t need to make repayments

If you also have an undergraduate loan you will make two concurrent repayments as follows:

  • 6% of earnings over £21,000 a year for your postgraduate student loan
  • 9% of earnings over £25,000 a year for your undergraduate student loan

You will also pay interest on your postgraduate loan and this will begin accumulating from the date of your first payment. The rate is linked to inflation using the Retail Prices Index (RPI) and changes each year. It is currently 6.1% but is expected to rise to 6.3% in September 2018.

Any remaining loan (including interest) will be written off after 30 years.

Repayment guides

Looking for more detailed information on postgraduate repayments? Our full guide includes a range of advice and examples.

Frequently asked questions

Got a more specific question about postgraduate loans in Wales, or looking for something you can’t find in the guide? We might have covered it in our FAQs, below.

We’re always adding to these based on information from the Student Loans Company and feedback from students at our postgraduate study events. Take a look and see if we’ve answered your question. If we haven’t, get in touch with us by emailing editor[at]findamasters.com and we’ll do our best to help.

Do I have to borrow the full amount?

Postgraduate loans in Wales allow you to borrow anything between £1 and £13,000.

Is the value of a Welsh postgraduate loan linked to course fees?

No. You can borrow up to £13,000 regardless of your Masters fees.

What if my course costs more than £13,000?

Postgraduate loans in Wales are offered as a ‘contribution to costs’. This means they should help you study a postgraduate degree, but they aren’t guaranteed to cover everything. The cost of a Masters varies across the UK and you’ll also need to factor in living expenses.

What if my course costs less than £13,000?

You can still borrow the maximum amount (if you like) and use the remainder to help pay for accommodation and living costs.

Are Welsh postgraduate loans available for maintenance?

You can use your loan for living costs as well as (or instead of) tuition fees. However, there isn’t a separate postgraduate maintenance loan in Wales.

Can I change my postgraduate loan amount?

Yes. You can the amount of loan you’ve requested by submitting a postgraduate Master’s loan request form. You’ll need to send this by post before nine months from the beginning of the final year of your course.

Why are postgraduate loans in Wales worth more than elsewhere?

Each part of the UK is responsible for its own student finance. Loans are also available in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, but Wales has decided to offer the largest amount of support for Masters students in 2018-19.

Are postgraduate loans in Wales means-tested?

No. Your income and financial circumstances don’t have any effect on your eligibility for a postgraduate student loan.

Will my credit history be checked?

No. Your credit score won’t affect your loan. However, you won’t be able to apply if you are in arrears to the Student Loans Company (for repayments you should have made on another loan) or if you have been found guilty of fraud.

What additional funding can I get to study a Masters in Wales?

Additional support for Masters study is being provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) in 2018-19. It’s been allocated to individual universities to use for fee waivers, bursaries or other support worth roughly £3,400 or more per student.

We've put together a quick rundown of what's available.

Who is eligible for additional funding to study a Masters in Wales?

Eligibility criteria for the extra support in 2018-19 are the same as for the Welsh postgraduate loan. However, you must study your Masters in Wales.

How do I apply for the additional funding to study a Masters in Wales?

You apply to your university. Some will automatically be allocating funding; others will ask students to apply on a first-come, first-served basis.

Do I have to repay the additional funding to study a Masters in Wales?

No. This money is provided as a bursary or fee waiver (a deduction from the cost of your fees). You don’t have to pay it back (but you do still have to repay your postgraduate loan).

Can I receive a Welsh postgraduate loan as well as Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA)?

Yes. Welsh Masters loans are separate from postgraduate DSA and you can have both.

Can I combine a Welsh postgraduate loan with other Masters funding?

You can’t combine a loan with additional support from a public source such as an NHS or Social Work bursary. However, you can have a loan alongside:

And, of course, you can also combine a loan with a FindAMasters scholarship.

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.

Can I have a second postgraduate loan?

You can’t apply if you’ve already had another UK postgraduate loan (including a previous Welsh Masters loan). The only exception applies to a course you were forced to exit because of compelling personal reasons (such as a serious illness or a bereavement).

Will the loan amount change?

£13,000 is the maximum you’ll be able to borrow for a course that starts in 2018-19.

Wales is considering introducing a new system of loans and bursaries for Masters students from 2019-20 onwards, but these details aren’t confirmed. Our newsletter will let you know as soon as more information is available.

How does the age limit work?

Postgraduate loans in Wales are only available to students under 60. This means you must be aged 59 or younger when your degree starts.

This is based on the first day of the academic year not your enrolment date or the date of your first class, lecture, etc.

The first day of the first academic year is normally as follows:


Academic year - postgraduate loans
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

Note that the age limit only applies at the beginning of your course. You will continue to receive your loan after you turn 60, provided you are 59 or younger when your Masters starts.

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan if I already have a Masters?

No. Postgraduate loans in Wales are only available to students who don’t already have a Masters degree (or higher level qualification).

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan if I already have a PGCert, PGDip or PGCE?

Yes. You can apply for a loan to study a Masters if you already have a shorter qualification such as a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma or a Postgraduate Certificate in Education.

However, you can’t get a loan to ‘top up’ these qualifications to a full Masters.

Can I get a Welsh loan for a Masters if I already have a PhD?

No. You can’t get a postgraduate loan for a Masters if you already have a qualification above that level.

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan if I’ve started a Masters but didn’t complete it?

Yes. Provided you didn’t graduate with your Masters and you didn’t have a postgraduate loan for it.

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan if I have an integrated Masters?

No. An integrated Masters (studied as part of an undergraduate degree) still counts as an existing qualification. You won’t be able to receive a loan for a second postgraduate Masters.

What counts as being ‘ordinarily resident’ in Wales?

To be classed as ‘ordinarily resident in Wales’ you must live there normally when you aren’t at university. This normally means that one or all of the following will be true:

  • You lived in Wales before you went to university
  • You received an undergraduate loan from Student Finance Wales
  • You have lived and worked in Wales since the end of your undergraduate degree

If you’re a UK student, but aren’t ordinarily resident in Wales you should apply for a different postgraduate loan.

What if I have moved from Wales to another part of the UK for my undergraduate degree?

You will still count as being ordinarily resident in Wales (living elsewhere to study doesn’t affect your residency).

What if I have moved to Wales from another part of the UK for my undergraduate degree?

You will still count as being ordinarily resident in the country you lived in before you went to university and should apply for a different UK postgraduate loan.

What if I work after my undergraduate degree, instead of going straight into a Masters?

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.

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.

  • You live in Wales but go to university in England. After graduating you stay in England to work for several months and eventually decide to study a Masters the following year. You will now count as being ordinarily resident in England and should apply for an English postgraduate loan rather than a Welsh postgraduate loan.

If you aren’t sure about your residency status, check with Student Finance Wales.

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan if I’ve lived outside the UK in the last three years?

In order to apply for a loan as a UK student you must have lived in the UK for three years prior to your course. You can travel for holidays, study abroad or have other periods of ‘temporary absence’ from the UK during this period, but you shouldn’t have become ordinarily resident in another country.

Are EU students eligible for postgraduate loans in Wales?

Yes. You can apply for a Welsh postgraduate loan as an EU student in 2018-19. You may also be eligible for additional Masters funding at Welsh universities. To be eligible you must have been living in the EU (including the UK), EEA or Switzerland for the past three years.

If you are already ordinarily resident in Wales you can use your postgraduate loan to study anywhere in the UK. If you are moving to the UK you can only use a Welsh postgraduate loan to live and study in Wales (this also applies to distance learning courses).

Will Brexit affect Welsh postgraduate loans?

No. All parts of the UK have guaranteed that EU students will pay the same fees and still have access to postgraduate student finance for courses beginning in 2018-19.

Are EEA or Swiss students eligible for postgraduate loans in Wales?

Students from the EEA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland may be eligible for a Welsh Masters loan if the following apply:

  • You or a family member are working in the UK
  • You have lived in the EEA or Switzerland during the last three years

If so, you will be eligible for the loan on a similar basis to EU students.

Are other international students eligible for postgraduate loans in Wales?

UK postgraduate student loans aren’t usually available to international students (from countries outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland). However, exceptions may apply to you if:

  • You have refugee status, humanitarian protection or indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • You have refugee status, humanitarian protection or indefinite leave to remain in the UK

If you think an exception may apply in your case you should contact Student Finance Wales. Information on UK fees and funding for international students is also available from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan for an MRes or MPhil?

Yes. Postgraduate loans in Wales are available for taught and research degrees, including Master of Research (MRes) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programmes.

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan for an MBA?

Yes. Postgraduate loans in Wales are available for Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes. However, you should bear in mind that the fees for some MBAs will be higher than the maximum £13,000 you can borrow with a postgraduate loan.

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan for an LLM?

Yes. Postgraduate loans in Wales are available for Master of Laws (LLM) programmes.

However, you can’t receive a loan for a shorter Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) unless it is awarded as part of a full Masters degree.

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan for an integrated Masters?

No. But you can apply for undergraduate student finance for one of these courses.

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan for a Master of Architecture (MArch?)

Only if the course is delivered part time. Full-time MArch degrees are covered by undergraduate student finance.

Can I get a Welsh postgraduate loan for a PGCert, PGDip or PGCE?

No. Postgraduate loans in Wales are only available for full 180 credit Masters degrees.

Can I get a loan for a PhD?

Yes. Wales is introducing separate loans for PhDs and other doctorates in 2018. These will offer up to £25,000 and applications are expected to open in late June. We’ll have further in our newsletter.

Where can I study?

UK-resident students can study anywhere in the UK (the Welsh Masters loans are ‘portable’). EU students can only use a Welsh postgraduate loan to study in Wales.

The additional Welsh Masters funding for 2018-19 is also only available at Welsh universities.

Can my Masters include an overseas placement or exchange programme?

Yes, provided it doesn’t account for more than 50% of your course. Your degree must also be awarded by a UK university.

Can I continue to receive my Welsh postgraduate loan if I switch courses?

Yes. If you transfer to a different course or university you can submit a Postgraduate Change of Circumstances form and continue your loan.

However, you won’t normally be able to receive a new postgraduate loan to begin a second course, unless you can provide evidence of compelling personal reasons.

Can I repeat a year of my course?

No. You won’t be eligible to receive a postgraduate loan whilst repeating part of a course you’ve already completed. However, you may be able to resume your payments once you have ‘caught up’ with your degree.

When will I receive my first payment?

The first instalment of your Welsh postgraduate loan will normally be paid into your UK bank account soon after your university confirms your attendance on the course.

When do repayments begin for Welsh postgraduate loans?

Repayments normally begin on the 6 April after your course ends (provided you are earning over £21,000) a year.

Is the repayment threshold rising?

No. The repayment threshold for English and Welsh postgraduate loans is remaining at £21,000 per year, not rising to £25,000 as is the case for undergraduate loans.t

What is the current interest rate for a Welsh postgraduate loan?

6.1%. This is expected to rise to 6.3% in September 2018.

Is the interest rate linked to income?

No. The interest rate for a Welsh postgraduate loan is the same regardless of how much you earn.

When can I apply for a Welsh postgraduate loan?

You can apply now, online or by post.

Can I use my existing student finance account?

If you already have an account with Student Finance Wales (for your undergraduate loan) you must use this to apply for a postgraduate loan. If you have an account with another UK student finance provider you may need to submit a postal application for your Welsh postgraduate loan.

Got another question?

Is there something we haven’t covered here? Let us know by emailing editor[at]findamasters.com. We’ll try to find the answer for you – and add it to this FAQ.


Last updated - 08/06/2018

This article is the property of FindAMasters.com and may not be reproduced without permission.

Click here to search our database of Masters courses


Cookie Policy    X