Can You Get Student Finance for a Master’s Degree?

Can you get student finance for a master’s degree?

The simple answer to this question is – yes! The UK government offers financial support to eligible students pursuing a postgraduate masters degree through the various finance bodies across the country. These bodies include: Student Finance England, Student Awards Agency for Scotland, Student Finance Wales, and Student Finance Northern Ireland.

There are a number of different types of student finance you can receive for studying a masters, such as tuition loans & maintenance loans. A masters tuition loan is a loan of money from the government that covers the cost of tuition fees, and the amount you receive will depend on your country of residence within the UK. A maintenance loan will help with day-to-day living expenses such as student accommodation, food, and study resources. Factors such as your household income will influence the amount you can borrow. Discover more about the difference between a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan, here. 

Another type of finance are scholarships and grants, which are sums of money gifted to postgraduate students based on academic merit, specific fields of study, or other criteria.

Can You Get Student Finance for a Master’s Degree
Scholarships are generally offered by universities, charitable organisations, and government agencies

Am I eligible for masters student finance?

To successfully get a student loan there are a number of different eligibility criteria that you’ll have to meet, for example:

  • You are under the age of 60 – you are not eligible if you are over 60 years of age on the first day of the course.
  • You are a British citizen, or have been living in the UK for three years on the first day of the academic year.
  • This is your first ever masters degree –  you won’t be eligible if you already hold a master’s degree or another higher qualification, even if it wasn’t from a UK university.
  • It is a one or two-year master’s course – or if you’re studying part-time then the course must be a maximum four-year course. You are also eligible for the loan if you’re on a three-year part-time course if there is no full-time equivalent.
  • It is a full master’s degree (not a top up course) – technically, this means a level 7 qualification worth 180 credits. Postgraduate diplomas are usually 120 or 60 credits and therefore don’t count.

When to apply for masters student finance.

The application process and deadlines for masters student finance can differ depending on the country and funding body you are applying to. For example:

  • England: Applications for master’s student finance typically open in the spring before the academic year you plan to start your course. This is usually around late February or early March and the deadline for submitting this application is usually in the early autumn. Learn more about the recent changes for student finance in England, here. 
  • Wales: Applications for postgraduate funding in Wales generally open around April for the academic year starting in the following Autumn. The deadline is usually around June or July.
  • In Northern Ireland, the application process usually begins in the spring, around May or June and the deadline for applications is generally around July or August.
  • In Scotland, the application process and deadlines for Masters student finance are different for Scottish and EU/UK students and non-UK EU students. For Scottish and EU/UK students, applications generally open in the spring, around April, and the deadline is around June or July. However, for non-UK EU students, applications usually open in the late summer, around July or August, with a deadline in October.

It’s important to remember that funding processes and application deadlines can change, so it’s always best to check the official websites of the respective funding bodies in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland for the most up-to-date information. 

Can You Get Student Finance for a Master’s Degree
It is also highly recommended that you apply as early as possible to ensure that your funding is processed and approved in time for the start of your course.

How to apply for student finance for a masters.

Once you have chosen your desired university and masters course, checked that you are eligible and researched and understood the various funding options available, you can start the application process.

1. Create a Student Finance Account.

Firstly, you’ll need to create a student finance account. If you are applying through Student Finance England, you will need to create an online account on the government website. For other funding bodies, for Wales, Scotland & NI, check their respective websites for application instructions. If you’ve already taken out a loan with Student Finance before for undergraduate study then you can use that same account to apply.

2. Submit Supporting Documents.

Log in to your account and fill out the relevant application form for Master’s student finance. Provide accurate and up-to-date information about your course, university, and current financial situation.

You might be asked to submit supporting documents, such as ID, previous qualifications, and household income details. Ensure you provide all requested documentation swiftly to avoid delays in processing your application.

Remember, triple-check that all the information you’ve provided in the application form is totally accurate. Once you are sure, submit the application.

3. Wait for a Decision.

The processing time for student finance applications can differ depending on a number of things, such as the individual funding body, the volume of applicants, complexity of your application, and the time of year. Nevertheless, you should typically receive a decision within a few weeks to a few months of applying. 

If the funding body requires more information or clarification on specific details, get back to them promptly to facilitate the assessment process.

4. Receive your Funding.

If your application is approved, you will receive clear information of the funding amount and the payment schedule, for example in three instalments throughout the academic year. Funding might be paid directly to your university to cover tuition fees, and any remaining funds for living costs will usually be paid directly to you.

Can I get student finance for a second masters?

As touched on previously, unfortunately you can not get student finance if you already received a loan for a previous master’s degree, even if you didn’t pass the course. However, if you previously started a master’s degree and didn’t complete it, and didn’t receive a student loan for it, you can apply for a loan to study a new master’s course.

Can You Get Student Finance for a Master’s Degree?
Note that having had a loan or loans from a previous undergraduate course will not affect your eligibility for a postgraduate loan, as long as this is your first postgraduate loan.

On the topic of applying for student finance, you may also wonder if working part-time affects student finance. Generally speaking, having a part-time job shouldn’t affect your eligibility for student finance. Read our full blog on the topic for more information.

Hopefully this article has provided you with a solid understanding of student finance for a postgraduate master’s degree and how to apply.  To learn more about the wonderful world of university and student life, check out our student blog page

Written by Kate for Host


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