Finding funding for postgraduate study is a challenge faced by many students. The average course fee for a full-time, taught Masters programme is between £6,000 and £8,000. Living costs also need to be taken into account and you should budget for at least £12,000 in London and £10,000 elsewhere. Fees for overseas students are generally two to three times higher than those for UK students.
There is now a funding scheme in place for postgraduate students in the UK, which is similar in many ways to how undergraduate student finance is provided. Postgraduate loans (PGLs) are government-backed loans that allow students studying a taught or research Masters to borrow money to cover fees and living expenses. To be eligible you must be a UK national and be living in England when you start your course (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own unique funding opportunities – more information can be found here). You will start repaying your loan the year after your course finishes on any income you earn over the minimum threshold.
Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) are also available through the Co-operative Bank. Unlike typical bank loans, the UK Government pays your interest whilst you study. PCDLs can still be a good source of support if you aren’t able to apply for other forms of funding. Repayment requirements can be stricter than those for student loans, but the eligibility criteria may be more relaxed. You’ll need to meet certain credit criteria to qualify for a Career Development Loan for postgraduate study, but you can borrow anything between £300 and £10,000.
Grants and bursaries do exist and can cover both fees and living expenses, but they are highly competitive. Some postgraduate courses that lead to a teaching qualification (e.g. a Postgraduate Certificate of Education) attract Government grants to support students, particularly in subject areas where there are teacher shortages.