Postgraduate student funding
Note: International students and students with a Tier 4 (General) visa are not normally eligible for these funding options.
Does Student Finance England provide any funding?
A postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 is available from Student Finance England.
The loan can be used to pay tuition fees or help meet your maintenance or study costs. Your course must be at postgraduate masters level and you must meet the eligibility rules that relate to residence, settled status, previous study and qualifications.
Eligible courses can be taught or research based. At the University of Westminster, eligible courses include MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MRes and MPhil. RIBA Part 2 architecture and integrated Master’s do not qualify.
The loan is available for full-time and part-time study.
If you study a two year part-time course (equivalent to a one year full-time course) it does not matter how the course load is divided over these two years. This does not affect loan eligibility.
The loan will always be paid over one or two years even if the course lasts longer. For one year full-time courses a loan of up to £10,000 is available. For courses of two years or more up to £5,000 is available for year one and up to £5,000 in year two.
The loan is not assessed against household income or any other loans or grants.
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.
There are different ways to qualify. Different rules apply to UK nationals, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals, people with settled status, long UK residence, refugee status or humanitarian protection, children of Turkish worker. There are also rules that relate to family members.
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 this was self-funded or achieved outside of the UK. Eligibility is not affected by lower level qualifications such as Postgraduate Diplomas.
You must not be in arrears or in default of repaying any previous student loan or be considered unfit e.g. because of attempted fraud.
Once you have received your maximum funding entitlement, you will not be entitled to any further loan even if you did not achieve your master’s qualification or take longer to complete than expected. However if compelling personal reasons (CPR) caused you to leave your last postgraduate MA course without completing it or, cause you to repeat a year of your course, SFE can consider awarding an additional year of funding for a new course or a repeat year if you provide satisfactory evidence of your circumstances. CPR can include health or bereavement but other issues can also be considered.
Otherwise, if you receive a PG Loan for a course you do not complete, you cannot get another PG loan for a new course.
You can apply online or by completing a paper form. Visit the Gov.uk website.
The loan is paid directly to you in three equal instalments each academic year: on the course start date and 4 months and 7 months after the course start date.
Loans will be repaid under income contingent repayment rules linked to income. Interest will accrue at a rate of RPI + 3%. The repayment due date is 6 April following completion or withdrawal from the course. However as this is a new scheme no repayment will collected before 6 April 2019. The repayment threshold will be £21,000.00, equivalent to monthly earnings of £1,750.00. If repaying from overseas a threshold relevant to your country of residence will be applied instead. Repayments will be 6 % of your income above the threshold. If you are also repaying another SFE loan you will have two separate deductions taken from your salary.
Will I be funded for my RIBA Part II course?
The new Student Finance England (SFE) Postgraduate Loan is not available for RIBA Part II. However students progressing from RIBA Part I onto RIBA Part II in Architecture may be eligible for the Student Finance England loans and grants available to undergraduate students. You must meet the SFE general eligibility and previous study rules. SFE will also consider your current qualification/s and on the gap between completing RIBA Part I and starting Part II. The rules can be complex so contact Student Advice to discuss your eligibility.
What other funding is available?
Alternative sources of funding include a Professional and Career Development Loan or other similar bank loan. You could also apply directly to an award-making body.
If you're a UK or Home student, have a look at the following sites for details of your funding options:
Professional and Career Development Loan
The University of Westminster is a Professional and Career Development Loans registered Learning Provider, registration number 8108.
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.
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 local branch.
Charities and trusts and bursaries
You should visit the University 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.
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 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.
Does the University provide any funding?
There are a number of University of Westminster scholarships for prospective students. You will need to apply before the start of your course and make sure that you check the eligibility rules, which differ according to the scholarship. Visit the University Scholarships webpage for full information.
If you’ve been classed as a UK Home student, have a look at the Living Expenses Support Scheme (LESS).
How do I apply to an award-making body?
There are a number of postgraduate award-making bodies in England and Wales who 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.