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What Are Your Funding Options for a Postgraduate Qualification?

Nowadays, the job market is so competitive that the only way to get ahead is to do a postgraduate qualification.  Even if your family is unable to help you as much as they’d like financially, there are funding solutions to help you pay for your postgraduate qualification – whether it’s a Master’s or a Doctoral course.

Loans from the Student Finance Loan Company

There are loans available for UK or EU graduates wishing to embark on postgraduate studies from Student Finance England although the provision for other countries in the UK might differ slightly. These loans are available for both full- and part-time students and aren’t means-tested.  They are paid directly to you, and the way you spend the money is at your own discretion so they can be used for tuition fees and/or living expenses. 

As long as you meet the eligibility criteria (such as not receiving funding from other agencies such as a Social Work or NHS bursary, being permanently based in the UK, etc.), you can apply and receive funding.  This is up to £10,609 for a Masters and £25,000 for a doctorate.  When you consider the high cost of living in Britain, this might not seem very much money.  However, many postgraduate students supplement their loan with a job.  Also, if cash is tight, Cashfloat can provide money on demand with an easy and quick online application. 

Like the Student Loan Company’s undergraduate funding, the loan doesn’t have to be repaid until the April after you complete the course.  Interest is based on the RPI (Retail Price Index) plus 3{f674bbf544aee2be6022affda6af35bab40f702389c05ea75c0fbbc54dbabce7}.  Repayments are automatically deducted from your pay cheque as soon as you reach the repayment threshold which has been set at £25,000.  9{f674bbf544aee2be6022affda6af35bab40f702389c05ea75c0fbbc54dbabce7} of any money you earn over this amount is taken from your pay packet, and the debt is automatically cancelled after 30 years.

Funding from Professional & Career Development Loans

If you are doing a qualification that will help your progress in your chosen career, you might be entitled to a Professional & Career Development loan.  These commercial loans vary from £300-£10,000, but are only available for certain fields of study.  While you’re on the course, the government pays the interest on the loan on your behalf. 

If you find yourself struggling financially, you should contact your university or a representative of the Students’ Union.  Most universities have a system of funding in place to help students.  This assistance consists of emergency loans, one-off non-refundable payments and/or bursaries to help you purchase books, or pay for field trips which are a prerequisite for completing your course.  Some of the extra funding is exclusively for vulnerable students.  For example, single parents, mature students with dependents, and/or the disabledso you should always make sure you find out what’s on offer before making the irrevocable step of abandoning your course.  Many UK universities allow you to take a temporary break if the pressure is too great.