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Student Finance

Postgraduate Loans in Wales 2024

For Welsh students on master's courses, there could be as much as £18,950 available from  Student Finance. Here's the key info about Postgraduate Student Loans.

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You may have heard the Welsh Government has introduced some major changes for Student Finance in 2024/25. Unfortunately, this includes replacing grants with loans for master's students.

In previous years, funding was offered as a combination of loans and grants. Unlike loans, the grants didn't need to be repaid which took some pressure off graduates.

However, from 2024/25 onwards, all master's funding for Welsh students is offered as a loan.

While this is disappointing, the funding package is bigger than for master's students elsewhere in the UK. So, although it's not quite as good as it had been, it's still generous in comparison.

We've also got guides for English, Northern Irish and Scottish students looking for postgraduate funding, as well as a guide for Welsh students seeking undergraduate Student Finance.

Eligibility for Student Finance Wales master's funding

Student Finance isn't open to absolutely every postgraduate student– there are some criteria you need to meet first. You must be under the age of 60 for a start.

But some of the other eligibility conditions are a bit more complicated, so we've broken them down for you:

Nationality and residency eligibility criteria

To qualify for postgraduate master's funding in Wales, you must:

  • Be a UK national or have 'settled status' (i.e. no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK)
  • Normally live in Wales and haven't just moved there for uni
  • Have been living in the UK or Republic of Ireland for at least three years before the first day of your course.

There are some exceptions to this. For example, you could also be eligible if:

  • You're a refugee or relative of one
  • You've been granted stateless leave
  • Or, you're the child of a Swiss national or Turkish worker.

Check the Student Finance Wales website for full details to see if you qualify for the funding.

If you studied in Wales for your undergraduate degree, but your family home address is elsewhere in the UK, that does not qualify as 'normally' resident in Wales, as you were only there for your studies. You should contact the Student Finance provider in your home nation instead (i.e. Student Finance England, Student Finance NI or Student Awards Agency Scotland).

Eligible courses for the Postgraduate Loan

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Your master's course must:

  • Be a full, stand-alone course (not a top-up course)
  • Be worth at least 180 credits
  • Be between one and four years in length.

The course can be at a university or college, or a distance learning course, and it can be taught or research-based.

Examples of eligible courses include:

  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Master of Art (MA)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Master of Research (MRes)
  • Master of Law (LLM)
  • Master of Letters (MLitt)
  • Master of Fine Art (MFA)
  • Master of Education (MEd)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA).

If you're studying a distance learning course, you must be living in Wales on the first day of your course and in the UK for the duration of your course (unless you're an EU national who is eligible for Student Finance, in which case you need to be living in Wales for the entire course duration).

Which courses are not eligible for postgraduate funding?

Postgraduate funding from Student Finance Wales is not available for integrated master's courses.

If you're on an integrated master's course (an undergraduate course that runs straight into a master's without you having to reapply), you'll need to apply for undergraduate Student Finance.

Alternatively, if you're studying a master's as part of an Integrated Doctoral course, you'll need a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan instead.

One final point: you also won't be eligible for Postgraduate Master's Finance if you already have a master's degree (or a degree of the same or higher level).

Once you've sorted your Student Finance, you'll need to decide where to live. We weigh up the pros and cons of student halls, houses and living at home.

How much money can you get as a Postgraduate Loan?

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In Wales, you can receive a postgraduate master's loan of up to £18,950 in 2024/25. This money goes towards both your course fees and living costs.

This funding is for your entire course. So, if your course lasts two years, the maximum you can get per year is £9,475.

Each year, you'll receive your money in three instalments of 33%, 33% and 34% – and it's up to you to budget it carefully.

Looking for more ways to fund your studies? Our guide talks you through the funding options for postgraduate students.

How to apply for master's Student Finance in Wales

The application process for postgraduate Student Finance for students from Wales is very simple:

  1. Head to Student Finance Wales to log into your account and submit your application.
  2. If you opt to have your household income taken into account, your parents/partner will have to fill in an Assessment of Financial Circumstances form, which is available to download once you submit your application.
  3. You'll then need to provide Student Finance Wales with the required evidence so they can assess your household income.

Applications for 2024/25 should open by the end of June. Apply online as soon as you're able to – you don't need a confirmed place at university to do so.

When applying, make sure you have your passport, National Insurance number, bank details and university/college details to hand.

Remember, you only have to apply once. If your course lasts for longer than a year, you don't need to reapply each year like at undergraduate level.

The deadline for applying is within nine months of the first day of the last academic year of your course – use the table below to work out when your deadline would be.

Welsh postgraduate Student Finance deadlines

Course start dateOfficial first day of academic yearApplication deadline
1st August – 31st December1st September1st June
1st January – 31st March1st January1st October
1st April – 30th June1st April1st January
1st July – 31st July1st July1st April

Repaying your Postgraduate Student Loan

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While the grant part of your Student Finance package is free money that you don't have to pay back, you will have to pay back your Student Loan in instalments over time.

Here's a breakdown of the main things to know about repaying your Postgraduate Student Loan:

  • You start repayments the April after you finish your course.
  • You only start making repayments when your income is over the threshold – currently, £21,000 a year (£1,750 a month or £403 a week).
  • You pay back 6% of what you earn over the threshold. So, for example, on a £28,800 annual salary (£2,400 monthly wage, which is £650 above the threshold), you'd pay £39 a month, as this is 6% of £650.
  • Payments are taken automatically from your salary each month, and will automatically stop if your salary falls below the threshold. If you're self-employed the money will be deducted when you complete your self-assessment tax return.
  • In theory, the interest rate on Postgraduate Loans should be 16.5% (RPI + 3%) between September 2023 – August 2024. However, due to the government installing a cap, it's currently 7.9%.
  • You can make extra payments to the Student Loans Company if you want to pay back the loan quicker, but your loan will be written off after 30 years – any unpaid money will be wiped.

It's worth noting that, while your undergraduate and postgraduate loans will operate on different plans, repayments will be taken as one lump sum.

If you're earning above the postgraduate threshold, you'll make repayments towards this loan, and once you earn more than the undergraduate threshold, you'll make a single payment to cover both repayments each month.

The table below shows you how much you'll be repaying each month for both your undergraduate (if you have a Plan 2 loan) and Postgraduate Student Loans from the April after you've finished your course:

Welsh Postgraduate Student Loan repayments

Annual salaryUndergraduate LoanPostgraduate LoanTotal
£21,000£0£0£0
£27,295£0£31£31
£30,000£20£45£65
£40,000£95£95£190
£50,000£170£145£315

Thinking about doing a PhD after your master's? Check out our guide to the Doctoral Loan.

Jessica Murray

WRITTEN BY Jessica Murray

As an Editor of Save the Student, Jessica Murray has written extensively on student money news and money-saving tips. She was co-host of our podcast, No More Beans, and is now a journalist at the Guardian. Her tips and insights range from fun guides for freshers, to information for graduates entering the workplace.
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