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Postgraduate Loans in Wales

Wales offers postgraduate loans of up to £10,280 for Welsh-resident UK students to study a Masters in the UK. EU students are also eligible for a loan to study abroad in Wales.

This page offers a quick summary of the current Welsh Masters loans, plus a detailed FAQ offering more information and details of future changes.

Welsh postgraduate loans at a glance

Overview: Student loans for taught and research Masters degrees.
Value: Up to £10,280 in 2017-18, rising to £13,000 or more for 2018-19.
Eligibility: UK students ordinarily resident in Wales. EU nationals resident in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
Location: Any UK university.
Repayment: 6% of income over £21,000. Interest at RPI+3%.
Applications: Now open, via Student Finance Wales.

Loan amounts

You can borrow up to £10,280 for a Masters degree beginning in the 2017-18 academic year. This will increase to at least £13,000 for courses beginning in 2018-19.

Your total loan will be divided evenly across each year of your course. These annual portions will then be paid to you in three almost equal instalments per year. Dates for instalments are as follows:

  • Instalment one (33% of annual amount) - month 1 of course.
  • Instalment two (33% of annual amount) - month 4 of course.
  • Instalment three (34% of annual amount) - month 7 of course.

Payments will only be made so long as you are registered at your university and proceeding with your Masters.

Do I have to borrow the full amount?

No. You can borrow anything up to £10,280. You cannot borrow more than this, but you can request less.

What if the loan doesn't cover the full cost of my Masters?

The loan is paid to you as a 'contribution to the cost of a Masters'. This means it should help support you as a postgraduate, but isn't guaranteed to cover all your tuition fees and living expenses.

The cost of a Masters

How much does a UK Masters degree actually cost? Our guide explains typical postgraduate fees and living costs.

Can I apply if I already have an undergraduate loan?

Yes. The Welsh postgraduate loan is entirely separate from your undergraduate loan. You do not need to have paid off existing student loans before you apply. However, you must not owe any missed payments to the Student Loans Company.

Are the loans means-tested?

No. You can apply for a postgraduate loan regardless of your financial circumstances, provided you meet other eligibility criteria.

Search for a Masters in the UK

Will Welsh postgraduate funding help you pursue a Masters? Browse and compare Masters degrees in the UK on FindAMasters.com

Student eligibility

UK students must have lived in the UK for the past three years and be ordinarily resident. EU from outside the UK must have been living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland for the past three years and be coming to live and study in Wales.

What counts as being ordinarily resident in Wales?

You will need to have been living in the UK for at least three years and to have a home address in Wales before you begin your Masters. Living in Wales purely for the purposes of study (during an undergraduate degree, for example) will not make you ordinarily resident.

Other UK postgraduate loans are available for students who normally live in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

What if I have travelled outside the UK during the last three years?

Short periods of travel or study outside the UK won't normally affect your loan eligibility: these will be considered temporary. Longer periods of residence and permanent employment abroad may be an issue.

You should discuss your circumstances with Student Finance Wales if you think overseas residency may affect your eligibility.

What if I already have a Masters?

Loans are not available to study a second Masters degree. This also applies to students with PhDs or other qualifications above Masters level.

Are EEA and Swiss students eligible?

Potentially. You (or a family member) must have be working in the UK, or have been granted permanent residence.

Are other international students eligible?

Students from elsewhere may be eligible for a Welsh postgraduate loan if one or more of the following apply:

  • You have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
  • You have the permanent right to live in the UK for another reason
  • You are the child of a Turkish worker

Other international students on standard Tier 4 visas will not normally be eligible. You should contact Student Finance Wales if you think an exception may apply to you.


EU eligibility for UK postgraduate loans is not affected by Brexit next year. Fee and funding guarantees are in place for the duration of courses beginning in 2018-19.

Course eligibility

Welsh postgraduate loans are provided for taught and research Masters degrees across the UK. Courses can last up to two years full time or four years part time, with distance learning options also available.

Are all Masters degrees eligible?

Almost all UK Masters degrees will be eligible for Welsh postgraduate loans, with some restrictions:

  • Your course must be a postgraduate programme. This means it cannot be an integrated Masters degree or other qualification that begins at undergraduate level.
  • Your course must be a Masters. This means it is a level 7 qualification, usually worth 180 credits.
  • Your course must be a full degree. This means you cannot take out a loan for part of a Masters, or to 'top up' an existing postgraduate qualification below Masters level.

No restrictions apply to subject areas or course content.

Are PGCert (Postgraduate Certificate) or PGDip (Postgraduate Diplomas) eligible?

No. You must be studying a Masters. Shorter qualifications below this level are not eligible.

Where can I study?

Loans are fully portable across the UK. Students who are ordinarily resident in Wales are able to receive support to study at universities in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. EU students from outside the UK must study in Wales.

Can I receive a loan to complete an ongoing Masters?

Unfortunately not. The loans are intended for new students. In order to to be eligible your course must begin on or after 1st August 2017.

Can I study by distance learning?

Yes, but your course must be offered by a UK university and you must be resident in Wales whilst you study.

Are loans available for PhDs?

The Welsh postgraduate loans described on this page are only for Masters degrees. You can use one to study a research Masters, such as an MRes or MPhil. However, this must be the qualification you intend to exit with (you cannot receive a loan for a course that 'upgrades' to a PhD).

Wales is planning to introduce PhD loans for 2018-19 these are likely to be similar to the upcoming English doctoral loans, offering up to £25,000 for Welsh-resident students to complete a PhD in the UK. The exact details aren't finalised yet, but we'll update you when they are.


You'll repay your Welsh postgraduate loan on an income-contingent basis, at 6% of your earnings above £21,000 a year. These will be automatically by HMRC each month, unless you are self-employed (in which case you will make repayments as part of your self assessment).

Repayments will begin in the April after you graduate and will be concurrent with any undergraduate loans (if you have both student loans, you will make two montly repayments.

What are the interest rates?

Interest is charged at RPI (the retail prices index) +3% and begins to accrue once you receive your first loan payment.

When is the loan written off?

Any outstanding loan balance will be written off after 30 years.

Repaying your postgraduate loan

Our separate guide has detailed information on UK postgraduate loan repayments (in Wales and elsewhere). We've also included a handy postgraduate loan calculator.


Applications for Welsh Masters loans use a similar system to English postgraduate finance.

You can create an account and log-in to the online application service provided by Student Finance Wales. Alternatively, you can apply by post after downloading an application form.

For more advice (including a walkthrough and FAQs) see our guide to applying for a UK postgraduate loan.

Are other loans available?

Postgraduate loans will be available across the UK for Masters degrees and other courses beginning in 2017-18. The following table compares different options:

UK Postgraduate Loans Compared
England Northern Ireland Wales Scotland
Value £10,280* £5,500 £10,280** £10,000***
Level Full Masters Up to Masters Full Masters Up to Masters
Courses Taught & Research Taught & Research Taught & Research Taught
Length Up to 4 years Up to 3 years Up to 4 years Up to 4 years
*The maximum value of English postgraduate loans will rise to £10,609 in 2018-19.
**Wales will increase the value of its postgraduate loans to £13,000 for 2018-19.
***Scotland offers two separate postgraduate loans for tuition fees and living costs. Their eligibility criteria differ slightly.

You can stay updated with postgraduate loan news and changes by subscribing to our newsletter.

What's changing for 2018-19?

The value of Welsh Masters loans will rise to £13,000 in 2018-19. These increased loans will be available to Welsh-resident students starting a Masters anywhere in the UK next year. In addition, the Welsh Government will provide universities with up to £4,000 in additional funding for Welsh students studying in Wales.

Wales also intendes to introduce PhD loans for Welsh students in 2018-19. These are expected to be similar to the doctoral loans being introduced in England next year.

Other postgraduate funding changes for Welsh students may also be introduced in future. You can stay informed via our regular newsletter.

Brexit will not affect EU students beginning a Masters in Wales in 2017-18 or 2018-19: existing fee and funding eligibility has been confirmed for the duration of courses.

Last updated - 20/12/2017

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