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The Postgraduate Masters Degree Loan is the main source of Postgraduate Funding for Home students in the UK. It is a government loan and you apply to Student Finance in the same way as an Undergraduate Loan, except it is non-means tested.

To qualify you must meet certain residency criteria and be under the age of 60. If you have defaulted on an Undergraduate loan you will not be eligible for a Postgraduate Masters Degree Loan.

You can apply for:

  • up to £11,222 (in 2020/21); when you apply you can specify how much you wish to borrow up to that amount

  • this is a contribution towards the costs of study and it is at the student’s discretion to use the loan towards fees, maintenance costs or other costs;

  • the loan is non-means tested so you can get the maximum loan regardless of your income, assuming you meet the eligibility criteria

  • the loan is paid directly to the student into a UK bank account in 3 installments

Personal Eligibility 

The Postgraduate Masters Degree Loan is available to UK Nationals (and individuals with settled status in the UK) who have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years on the first day of the first academic year of their course. You must have been most recently resident in England, and must not have moved there from elsewhere in the UK and Islands solely for the purpose of education. Temporary absences from your home address, such as for education or travelling will not prevent you being eligible for the Postgraduate Masters Degree Loan.

You may be eligible if you are an EU national or if you have the residency status of refugee, humanitarian protection, EEA or Swiss migrant worker, a family member of any of the previous categories, or a child of a Swiss national or child of a Turkish worker.

You must be aged under 60 on the first day of the academic year of the course. The ‘academic year’ is the period of twelve months starting on 1st September, the first day of the academic year is 1st September 2020. You must be aged under 60 on that date. Note that there is no lower age limit.  Applicants will not be eligible for the Postgraduate Masters Degree Loan if they have outstanding student loan arrears or have previously been found "unfit" for student support (e.g. because of attempted fraud).



Course Eligibility

Your course must start in 2016/17 or later (i.e. on or after 1st August 2016).

Note that your course may have an overseas element but this cannot exceed 50% of the total course.

One and two year full-time courses are eligible for support.  Part-time courses are also eligible, and are subject to a minimum 50% intensity requirement. Note that where the student is studying a two year full-time course on a part-time basis, all payments will be made over the first two years of study.

Eligible courses may be taught or research based, and include professional Master’s courses such as MBAs. There are no subject restrictions.

Integrated Master's and PGCE students will continue to be funded by the undergraduate support system and therefore will not be eligible for the Postgraduate Masters Degree Loan

Postgraduate qualifications that do not result in a Master's qualifications such as a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate are not be eligible for the Postgraduate Masters Degree Loan.

 Students are not eligible for the Postgraduate Masters Degree Loan where they are eligible to apply for a healthcare bursary or are in receipt of a social work bursary from any of the following:

  •       National Health Service (NHS)
  •       Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS)
  •       Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)

As there are only a limited number of social work bursaries available,  if the student has not been awarded a Social Work bursary after applying for one, they may apply for the Postgraduate Masters Degree Loan.


No payments will be released until you have supplied your valid National Insurance Number (NINO) to Student Finance England.  There is no minimum loan request amount. You can amend the amount of loan requested up to one month before the end of the academic year, but cannot request less than has already been paid.

Payments will be released following receipt of confirmation from your HE Provider that you are in study and on track to complete your course within the specified course duration. This must be confirmed at the start of each academic year of the course.

Payments of the Postgraduate Masters Degree Loan will be made in three equal instalments per academic year in September, January and April following confirmation of attendance by University of Sussex.

Repeat Year

Repeat years of study will generally not be funded (even if you did not complete a previous postgraduate course, or requested less than the maximum loan amount). A repeat year will only be funded where you can prove compelling personal reasons for repeating an academic year.

Further funding is not available if you do not complete the course in the specified course length. However you can suspend and resume your course (no payments are made during suspension periods).


A withdrawal should be notified to Student Loans Company (SLC) immediately so that payments are not made when you are no longer in study. This will be closely monitored by SLC. Any payment made after the student leaves study will be treated as a loan overpayment.




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