Postgraduate student funding
This is an outline of the possible sources of funding for home and EU students who are planning to study, or who are already studying, a postgraduate taught course at the University of Westminster. This information will not normally be relevant for International students and students with a Tier 4 (General) visa.
It is important to explore your funding options before you start your course to ensure you have funds for your living costs and study needs. You also need funds to pay the course tuition fee. Information about course tuition fees is available on the individual Course pages.
Working out your budget and calculating your costs for your year/s of study is always a good idea. This may be a weekly or monthly assessment of your outgoing costs and the money you have or will have available to meet the costs. If there is a shortfall, you need to look into ways of increasing your income before you start your course to avoid falling into financial difficulty during your course.
How to pay your Tuition Fee
Information about the payment methods and fee payment instalments dates is available on the paying your fees page. Make sure you check the fee payment and liability dates.
Student Finance England funding
A Postgraduate Loan of up to £10,000 is available.
Courses must be stand-alone at postgraduate masters level. Courses can be taught or research based. Eligible courses include MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MRes and MPhil.
MAarch (RIBA Part 2, Architecture) does not normally qualify for the Postgraduate Loan because it attracts the Student Finanace England (SFE) funding for undergraduate study instead. Visit our undergraduate funding page for information.
Integrated Master’s do not qualify as they usually also attract SFE undergraduate funding.
Payment and repayment
The loan is paid over one year for a full-time course or divided equally over two years for a part-time course. Instalments are paid three times a year; 33% on the course start date, the next 33% four months later and the final 34% seven months after the course start date. They are paid directly to you, not the University. Make sure you are able to pay your course tuition fee.
The loan is not assessed against household income. It is repaid once you complete your course if you earn above the earnings threshold of £21,000 per year. No one will start to make repayments until April 2019.
More information about this loan is available from Student Finance England.
Disabled Students Allowance
SFE also provide a grant called the Disabled Students Allowance to help students with study needs relating to disability. This allowance is available for full and part-time study. You must meet the eligibility rules to qualify and your study needs have to be assessed. For further information visit the Disability Learning Support page.
SFE do not provide any additional loans or grants for childcare costs.
Your course must be an eligible course and you must meet the general eligibility rules.
The eligibility rules are complex and relate to UK residence, residence in England, EEA residence, nationality, immigration/settled status, previous study and qualifications. Different rules apply for:
- UK nationals
- EU/EEA/Swiss nationals
- people with settled status or long UK residence
- refugee status or humanitarian protection
- children of Turkish workers
- There are also eligibility rules for family members
Student Finance England provide an outline of some of the basic requirements, but contact Student Advice if you are unsure about your personal eligibility to receive this funding.
Please note: If you meet the eligibility rules always make sure you have evidence to prove this as SFE usually request this. For example depending on how you qualify this could be:
- original immigration documents and proof of immigration status
- proof of residence in the UK for three, five, or more years whichever is relevant to the qualifying category
- proof of residence in the UK on 1 September at the start of your course and/or proof of employment.
If you cannot provide the relevant evidence SFE can refuse funding, withdraw funding or ask for money to be repaid.
If you moved to England from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland to study an undergraduate degree course and intend to start a postgraduate level course immediately afterwards please contact Student Advice to discuss your circumstances as you may not be eligible for the loan.
You must be aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course.
You must not already hold a Master’s or higher-level qualification even if you funded this yourself or obtained the qualification outside of the UK. Eligibility is not affected by lower level qualifications such as Postgraduate Diplomas.
If you received a Postgraduate Loan but did not achieve a Master’s qualification or did not complete the course, you will not be entitled to a Postgraduate Loan for another course. However, if compelling personal reasons (CPR) caused you to leave your last postgraduate MA course without completing it then SFE can consider awarding you one additional year of funding for a new course. You will need to provide satisfactory evidence of your circumstances. CPR can include health or bereavement but other issues can also be considered.
You must not be in arrears or in default of repaying any previous student loan or be considered unfit to hold an award.
The UK government has announced that EU students who meet the general eligibility rules and who are starting their course in the 2017/18 academic year will remain eligible for SFE funding.
You can apply online or by completing a paper form once the applications open. Visit the Gov.uk website.
Other available funding
Professional and Career Development Loan
A Professional and Career Development Loan is a commercial bank loan that you can use to help pay for work-related learning. For further information on financial assistance to support your learning, please visit the GOV.UK website or contact the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.
If you are eligible for the SFE Postgraduate Loan, you may decide to apply for this loan if there is a shortfall in your budget.
The University of Westminster is a Professional and Career Development Loans registered Learning Provider – registration number 8108.
Professional studies loan
Some banks operate loan schemes for postgraduates taking professional courses such as law or accountancy. Interest rates and repayments will vary. Check availability with your bank. Other organisations may also offer loans for study. Always make sure you check the interest rates applied and read the terms and conditions carefully.
Charities and trusts and bursaries
Charities and trusts offer financial support to people in need. Some assist with non-related study costs but others specifically help students.
Each one will have its own eligibility criteria and application process. For example, you may need to live in a certain area and/or be under a certain age or have an unexpected financial difficulty during your study.
Charities and Trusts are a useful option to investigate but should not be viewed as a way to meet all your study needs as the sums involved can be quite small.
The Turn2Us website has a free online trust fund search.
Alternatively, you could look in the Educational Grants Directory, published annually by the Directory of Social Change. Student Advice have a reference copy or check with your local library.
The following sites are useful resources:
- Directgov website
- Prospects website
- The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding
- The Student Room
- Scholarship Search
- Research Council
Funding from the University
There are a number of scholarships. In most cases, you must apply before the start of your course. Make sure that you check the eligibility rules, which differ according to the scholarship. Visit the University Scholarships page for full information.
You should also visit the University Joint Scholarships and External Opportunities page as this lists external scholarships and bursaries. For example if you have a course offer to join the Transport and Planning MSc you could apply to be considered for the Brian Large Bursary of £7,200 available for living and fee expenses.
Also, have a look at the Living Expenses Support Scheme (LESS) information.
How to apply to an award-making body
There are a number of postgraduate award-making bodies in England and Wales which offer a limited number of awards to students studying certain subject areas. However, very few of our taught courses attract funding, although the Arts and Humanities Research Council is applicable to some.
To apply, you need to have been accepted on to a postgraduate degree course and you must usually apply before you start your course. Applications are normally made through the department in which you will study. If you’re not clear which award-making body covers your course, contact your prospective Course Leader.
The Prospects careers website has information about award making bodies as well as other funding suggestions.
Claiming Social Security Benefits
Further information and advice
If you have further questions contact the Student Advice Team.