Most lenders will consider applications from all students aged over 18 studying a Masters degree or other postgraduate course. Unlike UK student finance they won’t set hard restrictions on upper age limits or existing qualifications.
However, commercial funders will also consider a range of other factors when deciding whether to offer you a loan. This information will also be used to determine how much you can borrow and what your interest rate and repayment terms will be.
Each postgraduate lender will set its own criteria and weight them differently, but they are likely to include some or all of the following:
- Credit score and / or credit history – This helps check that you have a good track record of repaying debts and can afford a loan
- Other financial circumstances – Lenders may use other criteria such as your current savings or assets to assess the affordability of your loan
- University and / or course quality – Rankings for your institution or department may be used to assess the potential for your degree
- Course duration and / or continuation rate – The time students typically take to complete your course (and whether they do) may help a lender confirm that you will graduate and repay as expected
- Future earnings and / or employability – Historical data for your course or subject may be used to predict your future economic prospects
- Employment and / or academic history – Lenders may consider your existing work experience and qualifications when deciding how quickly you will find work with your Masters
Most lenders use their own algorithms to quickly process this information when you ask for a quote.
Are loans available for international students?
Private educational loans for graduate students don’t usually restrict eligibility to UK or EU students, though some lenders may have their own nationality criteria.
Will applying for a loan affect my credit rating?
Getting a quote for a loan may not show up on your credit history but making an application usually will. You should check this in advance if you aren’t sure.
Can I still apply if I have a bad credit score?
Private postgraduate loans will take account of your credit rating (this makes them different from government postgraduate loans). However, a poor credit score can sometimes be offset by other factors such as the reputation and future earnings potential for your course.
Can I apply for a postgraduate bank loan if I already hold a Masters qualification?
Yes. One of the main eligibility requirements for the UK government's Masters loans is that the student is studying their first Masters-level qualification. This condition doesn't apply for postgrad bank loans, making them more suitable as a student loan for working professionals who may have already completed a Masters earlier in life.
Can I still apply if I don’t have any credit history?
Postgraduate lenders know that many students may not have had time to build up a credit history. They may offset this by paying more attention to course-related factors or allowing you to provide a guarantor (see below).
Will I need a guarantor?
A guarantor is someone (such as a family member) who agrees to take responsibility for your debt if you are unable to make future repayments. Some postgraduate lenders may ask you to provide a guarantor if you have a limited credit history.
Do I need an offer for my course before I can apply for a loan?
The terms for your loan will be partly based on the Masters degree or other course you are studying. You will therefore need to confirm that you have been accepted before your loan can be finalised. Each lender will have their own process for this.