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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.
|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 Wales. 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.|
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.
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:
|Course length||1 year||2 years||3 years||4 years|
|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.
Postgraduate loans in Wales are available to:
In addition, you’ll need to:
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:
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 postgraduate loans are 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 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.
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:
|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.
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 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 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.
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.
Postgraduate loans in Wales allow you to borrow anything between £1 and £13,000.
No. You can borrow up to £13,000 regardless of your Masters fees.
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.
You can still borrow the maximum amount (if you like) and use the remainder to help pay for accommodation and living costs.
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.
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.
No. Your income and financial circumstances don’t have any effect on your eligibility for a postgraduate student loan.
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.
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.
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.
You apply to your university. Some will automatically be allocating funding; others will ask students to apply on a first-come, first-served basis.
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).
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.
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).
£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.
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:
|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 loans in Wales are only available to students who don’t already have a Masters degree (or higher level qualification).
No. You can’t get a postgraduate loan 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 a loan 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).
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.
If you aren’t sure about your residency status, check with Student Finance Wales.
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.
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).
Students from the EEA (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland may be eligible for a Welsh Masters loan if the following apply:
If so, you will be eligible for the loan on a similar basis to EU students.
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:
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).
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.
No. Postgraduate loans in Wales are only available for full 180 credit Masters degrees.
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.
Yes, provided it doesn’t account for more than 50% of your course. Your degree must also be awarded by a UK university.
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.
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.
Repayments normally begin on the 6 April after your course ends (provided you are earning over £21,000) a year.
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
6.1%. This is expected to rise to 6.3% in September 2018.
No. The interest rate for a Welsh postgraduate loan is the same regardless of how much you earn.
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.
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 - 26/06/2018