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Masters students in Wales can claim up to £17,489 in postgraduate funding through a combination of loans and grants. The funding is provided by Student Finance Wales on behalf of the Student Loans Company. You start to repay it once you graduate and earn over £21,000 a year.
|Overview:||Student loans and grants for full-time, part-time and distance learning Masters degrees in all subjects (taught or research).|
|Value:||Up to £17,489.|
|Eligibility:||UK nationals resident in Wales / people with EU settled status or indefinite leave to remain, resident in Wales.|
|Location:||Any UK university.|
|Repayment:||6% of annual income over £21,000. Interest at RPI+3%.|
|Application:||Now open for 2020-21 courses (applications for the 2021-22 academic year will open in summer 2021).|
If you’re beginning a Masters in the 2020-21 academic year, you could receive up to £17,489 towards your tuition fees and living costs. This amount is likely to change for 2021-22 programmes, but the exact figures haven’t been announced yet. If you sign up to our newsletter, we’ll keep you up-to-date.
The funding combines a non-means-tested loan and a means-tested grant. The size of the grant you get depends on your household income – the remainder of the £17,489 will consist of a postgraduate loan from Student Finance Wales.
Here are two examples from opposite ends of the spectrum:
If your household income falls between these two examples, the size of the Welsh Masters grant you receive will be based on a sliding scale. The table below illustrates some typical amounts.
|£59,200 or more||£1,000||£16,489||£17,489|
If you don’t want your household income to be taken into account, you can choose to receive the £1,000 grant and the postgraduate loan of up to £16,489.
You can also choose how much of the postgraduate loan you’d like to request, as long as your total amount of funding (including the grant) is not more than £17,489.
If you’re supported by your parents or a partner, you’ll be treated as a dependent student. This means that the income – both earned and unearned – of your parents / partner will be taken into account when calculating your household income.
You’ll also need to supply details of your own unearned income (this includes interest on savings and earnings from property). It doesn’t include any salary that you’ve earned through full or part-time work.
If you aren’t supported by your parents or a partner, you’ll be treated as an independent student and your household income will only include your unearned income (and not any income you’ve earned through full or part-time work).
These are some of the circumstances in which you’ll be treated as an independent student, not taking your parents’ / partner’s income into account:
Whether you’re a dependent or independent student, your household income will determine how much of the means-tested grant you receive.
It’s worth bearing in mind that any of your own income from full-time or part-time work will never form part of your household income, no matter what your status is as a dependent or independent student.
The money 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.
You decide how much you want to borrow through the loan element of the funding (up to the maximum of £17,489, including the grant). This money is divided evenly across your course and paid in three instalments per academic year.
You’ll receive 33% of your annual funding on or near your programme start date (once your university confirms your registration), then two more payments of 33% and 34% over the course of the academic year.
The value of each instalment depends on how much loan you request, how much grant you’re eligible for and how long your course is.
The following table shows approximate instalments for students studying a one-year Masters with a household income of £30,000 who take the full funding amount of £17,489:
|All values rounded to the nearest £1|
If your Masters is longer than one year, your postgraduate funding will be divided across each year of the course. The table below shows the size of the payments you’d receive on a longer programme, assuming that you claimed the full £17,489 through the loan and grant.
|Course length||2 years||3 years||4 years|
|All values rounded to the nearest £1|
If you still have some questions about how postgraduate funding in Wales works, we've answered a few FAQs below.
Postgraduate loans in Wales allow you to borrow anything between £1 and £16,489, depending on the size of the grant that you receive.
No. You can receive up to £17,489 regardless of your Masters fees.
Postgraduate funding in Wales is offered as a ‘contribution to costs’. This means it should help you study a postgraduate degree, but it’s not guaranteed to cover everything. The cost of a Masters varies across the UK and you’ll also need to factor in living expenses.
You can still request the maximum amount (if you like) and use the remainder to help pay for accommodation and living costs.
You can use your funding for living costs as well as (or instead of) tuition fees. However, there isn’t a separate postgraduate maintenance system in Wales.
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.
In 2018-19, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) provided additional funding for Masters study. It was allocated to individual universities to use for fee waivers, bursaries or other support worth roughly £3,400 or more per student.
However, this support is no longer available, having been replaced by the new postgraduate finance system of increased grants and loans.
You can’t combine Welsh postgraduate funding with additional support from a public source such as an NHS or Social Work bursary. However, you can have funding alongside:
If you receive support from the NHS or another public body (such as the UK Research Councils) you should check whether it affects your eligibility for Welsh postgraduate funding.
Postgraduate funding in Wales is 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).
In addition, you’ll need to:
Finally, you’ll need to be studying an eligible Masters degree.
Funding sometimes be available to international students if one of the following criteria applies:
It’s best to check with Student Finance Wales if you think you may qualify for funding as a non-EU national, but aren’t sure.
You won’t normally be eligible for Welsh Masters funding 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.
If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss national beginning a Masters in Wales from August 2021 onwards, you will only be eligible for postgraduate funding if you have EU settled status.
In order to apply for EU settled status, you’ll need to have been living in the UK before 31 December 2020.
If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss national studying a Masters in the 2020-21 academic year, you will be eligible for Welsh student finance for the duration of your programme. However, you may need to apply for a student visa if you’re arriving in the UK to begin a Masters in January 2021.
We've answered some frequently asked questions about eligibility for funding from Student Finance Wales.
No. Your credit score won’t affect your loan or grant. 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.
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).
Postgraduate funding in Wales is 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:
|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.
No. Postgraduate funding in Wales is only available to students who don’t already have a Masters degree (or higher level qualification).
No. You can’t get funding from Student Finance Wales for a Masters if you already have a qualification above that level.
Yes. Provided you didn’t graduate with your Masters and you didn’t have a postgraduate loan for it.
No. An integrated Masters (studied as part of an undergraduate degree) still counts as an existing qualification. You won’t be able to receive funding for a second postgraduate Masters.
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:
If you’re a UK student, but aren’t ordinarily resident in Wales you should apply for a different postgraduate loan.
You will still count as being ordinarily resident in Wales (living elsewhere to study doesn’t affect your residency).
In order to apply for funding 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.
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.
Here’s an example of how that could work:
If you aren’t sure about your residency status, check with Student Finance Wales.
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 and Ireland aren’t normally eligible for postgraduate funding in Wales.
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.
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).
Welsh postgraduate funding is available for taught and research Masters degrees in all subjects, provided they meet the following criteria:
Courses can be studied full time, part time or by distance learning:
UK-resident students can study at any UK university, but Irish students coming to the UK for their degree can only use Welsh postgraduate funding to study in Wales.
Here are the answers to several FAQs about course eligibility.
Yes. Postgraduate funding in Wales is 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 £17,000 you can receive through postgraduate funding in Wales.
No. Postgraduate funding in Wales is only available for full 180 credit Masters degrees.
UK-resident students can study anywhere in the UK (Welsh Masters funding is ‘portable’). EU students can only use Welsh postgraduate funding to study in Wales.
Applications for Welsh postgraduate finance are now open for Masters beginning in the 2020-21 academic year.
You’ll need to provide details of your identity and the course you plan to study, plus your National Insurance number (if you have one). You’ll also need to have a UK bank account.
If you’re applying for the means-tested element of the Masters funding, your parents or partner will need to submit an Assessment of Financial Circumstances Form (PGPFF) with details of your household income. This form can be downloaded from your Student Finance Wales account once you’ve submitted the rest of the application.
If you’re an independent student, you’ll be asked to supply your expected taxable unearned income for the academic year that you’ll begin your course in. This includes things like interest on savings and income from property, but doesn’t include any earnings from full-time or part-time work.
If you already have an account with Student Finance Wales you should use it for your postgraduate funding 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:
|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 funding but 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.
These are a couple of FAQs concerning the application process for postgraduate funding in Wales.
If you already have an account with Student Finance Wales (for your undergraduate loan) you must use this to apply for postgraduate funding. If you have an account with another UK student finance provider you may need to submit a postal application for your Welsh postgraduate funding.
Your repayments will begin in the April after you finish your programme, provided you’ve graduated (or left 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 also have an undergraduate loan you will make two concurrent repayments as follows:
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 5.6% but this changes every September.
Any remaining loan (including interest) will be written off 30 years after you become eligible to make repayments.
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about repaying a Welsh postgraduate loan.
Repayments normally begin in the April after your course ends (provided you are earning over £21,000 a year).
No, unlike undergraduate loans, the repayment threshold for English and Welsh postgraduate loans does not currently rise with inflation.
No. The interest rate for a Welsh postgraduate loan is the same regardless of how much you earn.
Got a more specific question about postgraduate funding in Wales, or looking for something you can’t find on the page?
We’re always adding to our guides based on information from the Student Loans Company and feedback from students at our postgraduate study events. If we haven’t answered your question, get in touch with us by emailing editor[at]findamasters.com and we’ll do our best to help.
Last updated 06/01/2020