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Funding for students on postgraduate taught courses 

Find out about different sources of funding available for Master's study.

This guidance is for students studying for an MA, MSc or MRes at UCL and is relevant to:

Home and EU

You can find out about:


Postgraduate Loans from Student Finance 

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Some Home and EU students may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan (PGL) from Student Finance. If your course started in the 2017/18 academic year you could get up to £10,280. If you course is starting in 2018/19 academic year you could get up to £10,609.

Eligibility

Whether you are eligible for a loan depends on:

  • your course 
  • your age 
  • where you normally live 
  • if you’ve studied on a postgraduate course before

Your funding will be paid directly into your account, in termly instalments, by Student Finance England once UCL has confirmed that you are fully enrolled.

Please note that you must be doing a full standalone Master's of 180 credits to be eligible for the loan. You will not be eligible for the loan if you are studying on a modular/flexible mode of attendance, or are using credits from previous study towards your Master's under UCL's Accreditation of Prior Learning scheme.

Find out more about the loan and check all other eligibility criteria on the .gov website

The Student Room's SFE Student Finance Zone is a valuable resource of information on SFE's loans and grants. It also includes a forum where students can have questions answered by Student Finance experts.

Paying your fees with your PGL

A Postgraduate Loan is neither a tuition fee loan nor a maintenance loan – unlike undergraduate loans it is paid directly to you to use in any way you choose.

How your PGL might affect your benefits

If you receive means-tested benefits, 30% of the maximum PGL is treated by the Department for Work and Pensions as being for living costs and hence will be considered income when assessing any benefit award. For benefit purposes, you will be treated as having this amount, regardless of whether you actually take up the loan. 

Interest

You’ll be charged interest from the day you get the first payment until your loan is repaid in full or cancelled. The interest rate on the loan is RPI + 3%.

Find out more about PGL interest rates

Repayment

The earliest you’ll start repaying your PGL is April 2019. You’ll only start repaying when your income is over £21,000 per year. You’ll repay 6% of your income over £21,000.

If you have undergraduate loans from Student Finance you will repay them at the same time as your PGL if you are in employment and earning over the threshold. 

Find out more about repaying your PGL


Professional and Career Development Loans

A Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL) is a bank loan designed to help you pay for work-related learning. You don't have to start paying your loan back until one month after you stop training.

A PCDL can help to pay for up to two years of learning or up to three years if the course includes one year's relevant practical work experience. If your course lasts longer than this, you may still be able to use a PCDL to pay for part of it. This loan is only available to British citizens who have been living in the UK for at least 3 years before their course starts.

Find out more about the PCDL

* Please note, Professional Career Development Loans will close to new borrowers in 2019. The final date for students to submit applications, including top ups to existing loans, will be Friday 25 January 2019.


Scholarships

There are a number of scholarships available to postgraduate students. You can use the scholarships finder to search for awards that you might be eligible for. Your academic department will also be able to provide you with more information about funding.

Use the scholarships finder


Disabled Students’ Allowances

You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.

You can get the allowances on top of your other student finance. You won’t need to repay DSAs.

UCL Student Support and Wellbeing provide information around DSAs and other support available for disabled students at UCL.  

Disabled students who are not awarded a Disabled Students’ Allowance may be eligible for a Student Health Association Bursary.


Benefits

As a student, it is unlikely you will be able to claim benefits unless you have a disability or have children.

The charity Turn2Us have guides on what benefits students may be eligible for.

If you are experiencing problems with your benefits, contact the Student's Union UCL Advice Service.

Council Tax

Full-time students do not need to pay council tax


Other sources of funding

Talk to your department about any programme or subject specific funding that may be available.

Online aggregators like Postgraduate Studentships, Scholarship Search and Postgraduate Funding list schemes. 

Find out about other schemes and scholarships for home and EU students

Turn2Us Grants Search database contains information on over 3,000 charitable funds offering welfare and educational grants, as well as other support and services. 

The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online is a portal for alternative sources of funding - especially charities - which can make awards (fees, maintenance, research costs) to any student regardless of subject, or nationality. UCL has purchased a licence to the Guide so it’s free for all students and staff to use. If you are a prospective student who has applied to the university email student funding to get an access the PIN. 

The following directories (found at the university Careers Service, local library or council) contain information on grants that are available for students:

  • Charities Digest
  • The Directory of Grant-Making Trusts (Directory of Social Change)
  • The Grants Register: the Complete Guide to Postgraduate Funding Worldwide (Palgrave Macmillan Ltd)
  • The Educations Grants Directory (Directory of Social Change)

The government has been looking in to the possibility of an alternative Sharia-compliant funding system which would be available alongside traditional student loans. However at present this system is not yet in place.


Reduce costs and increase income

If you are struggling to cover the costs of study, you can look at ways to reduce your costs and increase your income.

As a postgraduate student you have the opportunity to become a Student Residence Adviser and eliminate your accommodation costs completely by living in UCL halls. In exchange, you work in a team supporting the undergraduates who live in halls, dealing with pastoral and disciplinary issues.

Student Residence Adviser positions are advertised on the UCL Jobs site in February for the coming academic year.


International

You can find out about:


Scholarships

There are a number of scholarships available to postgraduate international students. You can use the scholarships finder to search for awards that you might be eligible for. Your academic department will also be able to provide you with more information about funding.

Use the scholarships finder 


US Loans

UCL participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans). This is the main U.S. Federal funding available to American students in the UK. 

The processing of loans at schools outside the US is different to that when applying to a school inside the US. Students applying to Direct Loans for study at UCL should follow the instructions carefully as we will not be able to administer your loan unless you submit that application to the Student Funding Office as outlined in the guidance.

Find out more about US Loans


Canadian Loans

Students from Canada may be able to apply for Canada Student Loans and provincial or territorial student assistance. 

Find out more about Canadian Loans


UCL Fund for Disabled International Students

UCL recognises that disabled students may have to incur additional costs in order to pursue their studies. Because of this, the UCL Fund for Disabled International Students has been established.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be enrolled at UCL
  • be able to show that you have a disability, long-term health condition, mental health difficulty or specific learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia) that affects your study such that you will incur extra costs

To apply, contact Student Support and Wellbeing.


Other sources of funding

Talk to your department about any programme or subject specific funding that may be available.

Online aggregators like Scholarship Search and International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search contain information on a variety of external schemes.

If you have specific circumstances or ethnic or religious background it is worth searching for scholarships/bursaries/grants that relate to those things. Some schemes are very specific.

Find out about other schemes for students based on home country

The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online is a portal for alternative sources of funding - especially charities - which can make awards (fees, maintenance, research costs) to any student regardless of subject, or nationality. UCL has purchased a licence to the Guide so it’s free for all students and staff to use. If you are a prospective student who has applied to the university email student funding  to get an access the PIN.

The following directories (found at the university Careers Service, local library or council) contain information on grants that are available for students:

  • Charities Digest
  • The Directory of Grant-Making Trusts (Directory of Social Change)
  • The Grants Register: the Complete Guide to Postgraduate Funding Worldwide (Palgrave Macmillan Ltd)
  • The Educations Grants Directory (Directory of Social Change)

The charity Churches Together in Britain and Ireland has a hardship fund for international students from developing countries who are facing financial hardship in the final stages of their course.


Reduce costs and increase income

If you are struggling to cover the costs of study, you can look at ways to reduce your costs and increase your income.

As a postgraduate student you have the opportunity to become a Student Residence Adviser and eliminate your accommodation costs completely by living in UCL halls. In exchange, you work in a team supporting the undergraduates who live in halls, dealing with pastoral and disciplinary issues.

Student Residence Adviser positions are advertised on the UCL Jobs site in February for the coming academic year.