To decide whether a student is eligible for the Postgraduate Loan, we consider:

Their nationality or residency

A student may be eligible for the Postgraduate Loan if they:

  • are a UK national or have ‘settled status’ ie no restrictions on how long they can stay
  • normally live in England
  • have been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years before starting their course

They may also be eligible if they’re an EU national and both the following apply:

  • they’re living in England on the first day of the first year of their course
  • they’ve normally lived in the European Economic Area or Switzerland for the past 3 years

A student could also be eligible if their residency status is one of the following:

  • child of a Swiss national
  • child of a Turkish worker
  • refugee or relative of one
  • EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or relative of one
  • Humanitarian protection or relative of someone who has been granted humanitarian protection
  • satisfy the new long residency category (being 18 or over and having lived in the UK for at least 20 years or at least half their life)

Their age

A student must be under 60 on the first day of the first academic year.

Any previous study

If a student already holds a Master’s level or higher level qualification, then they won’t be eligible for the Postgraduate Loan.

Their course

The Postgraduate Loan will be available to students studying a postgraduate Master’s course only (taught or research based) either full-time or part-time (including distance learning).

Examples of these awards are:

  • MSc (Master of Science)
  • MA (Master of Arts)
  • MPhil (Master of Philosophy)
  • MRes (Master of Research)
  • LLM (Master of Laws)
  • MLitt (Master of Letters)
  • MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
  • MEd (Master of Education)

The course must be:

  • full-time over 1 or 2 academic years
  • part-time over 2 to 4 academic years (no more than twice the length of the equivalent full-time course).
  • part-time for up to 3 years (where no equivalent full-time course exists).

Architecture Courses

If a student plans to study a Master of Architecture (MArch) qualification full-time, they should apply for undergraduate support.  The Postgraduate Loan will only be available for a MArch qualification if they’re ineligible for undergraduate funding.  If they plan to study the MArch part-time, they should only apply for the Postgraduate Loan.


Health Related Courses

If a student is studying a health related course in England, they’ll not be eligible for the Postgraduate Loan if they:

  • are eligible to apply for an NHS bursary; or
  • have been awarded a Social Work Bursary.

This also applies if they’re studying a course in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and applying for a bursary from the equivalent authority.

Students won’t be eligible for the Postgraduate Loan if they’re already receiving undergraduate support in the same academic year.

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