Wales will offer postgraduate loans for taught and research Masters degrees in 2017 and applications are now open.
Welsh-resident UK students will be able to borrow up to £10,280 to study anywhere in the UK. Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland may also be eligible.
These loans are an interim funding system for 2017-18. They will eventually be followed by new loans and grants, due to be introduced some time from 2018.
This page offers a full guide to Welsh Government postgraduate funding, from 2017 onwards.
|What?||Postgraduate loans for taught and research Masters degrees.||Proposed system of loans and grants for Masters degrees.|
|How much?||Up to £10,280 as non-means-tested loan.||Up to £17,000, in means-tested and non-means-tested grant and loan funding.|
|Who?||UK nationals resident in Wales, plus EU, EEA and Swiss students.||UK nationals resident in Wales. Other eligibility to be confirmed.|
|Where?||Any UK university.||Any UK university. Funding for study abroad also under consideration.|
|When?||Available now for courses beginning after 1st August 2017||Proposed for 2018 onwards, with plans currently under consultation.|
Welsh postgraduate loans are similar to those already offered in England. You may borrow up to £10,280 as a 'contribution to costs' for your Masters.
This does not guarantee that a loan will cover the full cost of studying a postgraduate course. But it does mean that the money will be paid directly to you, to use as you see fit.
No. You can borrow anything up to £10,280. You cannot borrow more than this, but you can request less.
The average cost of a UK Masters is between £6,000 and £8,000. However, this varies significantly across subject areas. Some courses, such as MBAs, may be much more expensive.
This means that a Welsh postgraduate loan will cover tuition fees for some courses, but not all. If your course is more expensive you will have to supplement your loan with additional funding or other resources.
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 (see below).
No. Your financial circumstances do not affect your eligibility for this funding and no credit check will be required when you apply.
The only exception concerns arrears to the Student Loans Company. If you have missed repayments you should have made on an undergraduate loan, you may need to rectify this before borrowing more money as a postgraduate.
You will receive payments directly to your UK bank account. You are then responsible for using them to cover tuition fees or other expenses during your course.
Your total loan will be divided evenly 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:
Payments will only be made so long as you are registered at your university and proceeding with your Masters.
Now! Applications for Welsh postgraduate loans opened in June. For more advice, you can read our guide to applying for a postgraduate loan (and confirm which UK scheme you should apply for).
Will Welsh postgraduate funding help you pursue a Masters? Browse and compare Masters degrees in the UK on FindAMasters.com
This new postgraduate funding is designed to support Welsh Masters students in the same was as the English Masters loans introduced in 2016.
Eligibility criteria are therefore very similair and are based on age and residency.
In order to apply as a UK student you must be ordinarily resident in Wales and aged under 60 when you begin your course. Slightly different terms exist for EU students in 2017.
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.
Note that you do not necessarily need to live and study in Wales during your Masters: the loans are 'portable' across the UK.
Periods of time studying in another part of the UK will not count against your residency.
By the same token, however, periods of time studying in Wales will not make you 'ordinarily resident' in Wales if you have moved from elsewhere in the UK.
Student residence and ordinary residence are essentally separate.
Short periods of travel or study outside the UK probably won't 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 residency abroad may affect your eligibility.
Yes, but you may not be eligible for Wales's own postgraduate grants and loans. Instead you will need to apply for a postgraduate loan in your own country. All schemes are intended to be 'portable', allowing students to study at universities across the UK.
The current status of UK postgraduate loan systems is as follows:
The Welsh Government has joined other parts of the UK in confirming student finance support for EU nationals beginning degrees in the 2017 academic year.
This means that EU students should be able to apply for a Welsh postgraduate loan this year. The same applies to EEA and Swiss nationals.
EU eligibility for Welsh postgraduate support from 2018 will depend on the terms of the UK's 'Brexit' process and the decisions of the Welsh Government.
Unfortunately, loans are not available to study a second Masters degree. This also applies to students with PhDs or other qualifications above Masters level.
Welsh postgraduate loans will be provided for taught and research Masters degrees across the UK in 2017. Courses can last up to two years full time or four years part time, with distance learning options also available.
These terms are very similar to those for English postgraduate loans. The only differences are that the Welsh funding is aimed at Welsh-resident (rather than English-resident) students, and that it will eventually be replaced by new loans and grants sometime after 2018.
Almost all UK Masters degrees will be eligible for Welsh postgraduate loans, with some restrictions:
No restrictions apply to subject areas or course content: you can study a taught, research or professional Masters in any specialism.
No. You must be studying a Masters. Shorter qualifications below this level are not eligible for loans. However, you can receive a loan to study a separate Masters if you already hold a PGCert or PGDip.
Loans will be fully portable across the UK. This means that students who are ordinarily resident in Wales will be able to receive support to study at universities in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales.
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.
Support will be available for taught Masters degrees lasting up to two years full time or four years part time. Part-time students must study at 50% of the intensity of an equivalent full-time student.
Where there is no full-time equivalent, a part-time Masters may last for up to three years.
Yes, but your course must be offered by a UK university and you must be resident in Wales whilst you study.
No. Like England, Wales is only offering loans for Masters degrees in 2017. You can receive a loan 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 considering other PhD support as part of its future funding plans.
You will repay your Welsh postgraduate loan on an income-contingent basis, concurrently with any undergraduate loans.
Repayment terms are expected to change slightly, following legislation. They are currently as follows:
Wales wishes to offer its Masters degree finance with a lower repayment rate than that currently used for undergraduate loans. This will help students with more than one loan.
However, new repayment rates must be confirmed in Government legislation. Until this occurs, Welsh postgraduate loans will use the existing repayment rate for undergraduate degrees (9%).
You will make repayments according to the terms that are in place when you begin repayment (not when you apply for your loan, or begin your Masters).
Because loan repayments won't begin until April 2019 (the year after the first set of students complete their courses) it is likely that the repayment rate for your loan will already have changed to 6%.
Applications for Welsh Masters loans in 2017 use a similar system to English postgraduate finance.
For more advice (including a walkthrough and FAQs) see our guide to applying for a UK postgraduate loan.
The loans described on this page are actually an interim scheme, offered to ensure Welsh students don't miss out in 2017. That's why they are essentially the same as the loans already offered in England.
Going forward, Wales has put together plans for a much more ambitious (but slightly more complicated) postgraduate funding system, to be introduced no earlier than 2018. This will be based on a detailed analysis of Welsh postgraduate support called the Diamond Review.
These plans have been given preliminary approval by the Welsh Government, but are currently going through a consultation process. They will then be confirmed and finalised.
The maximum amount of postgraduate finance available to Welsh Masters students is expected to be around £17,000. This will be made up of two components: a grant and a loan:
The intention is for all of this finance to be a contribution to the cost of studying your Masters. It won't be split into separate maintenance and tuition amounts.
In practice, however, it could represent the most generous postgraduate finance package in the UK.
Yes. Wales is considering introducing grants and loans for future PhD students. These will be separate to the funding for Masters students.
Part of the Diamond Review recommended that a Welsh Postgraduate Research Scholarship Scheme be introduced from 2018. This would provide support for up to 150 students to complete a PhD over three years. Funding would cover fees and maintenance and would not be repayable.
The Welsh Government has accepted these proposals and will consider their implementation.
In addition, Wales also plans to offer a system of PhD loans for Welsh students who are unable to win one of these new scholarships. The intention is for these to work similarly to the English PhD loans being introduced in 2018.
Note that full eligibility and timescale details for Welsh PhD funding hasn't been confirmed. We'll update when we have more information.
The Welsh government plans to introduce its main postgraduate grants and loans from 2018. The precise timeline for this will be confirmed following a consultation on the plans.
Postgraduate loans will be available across the UK for Masters degrees and other courses beginning in 2017-18. The following table compares different options:
|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 amount for English postgraduate loans will rise from £10,000 to £10,280 in 2017.|
|**Wales also proposes a combination of means-tested and non-means-tested grants and loans from 2018.|
|***Scotland offers two separate postgraduate loans for tuition fees and living costs. Their eligibility criteria differ slightly.|
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Last updated - 14/06/2017