Postgraduate loans in England

Postgraduate Loans have enabled more than 10,000 students to study with the OU since 2016.

They’re not means-tested and are paid directly to you to support your study costs.

What is a postgraduate loan?

Administered and applied for through Student Finance England, a postgraduate loan is a non-means-tested maintenance loan paid directly to you. That means if you study towards a masters degree and don’t already hold a masters degree or higher qualification, you could be eligible for up to £12,471 of funding.

The loan starts getting paid to you after you begin studying, which means you’ll need to register and complete payment by an alternative method in order to start your studies.


To be eligible for a postgraduate loan, you must:

  • be living in England
  • be studying a full masters degree of a minimum of 180 credits – you won’t be eligible if you’re studying towards a postgraduate certificate or diploma
  • be studying towards a masters degree that can be completed in no more than three years
  • be aged under 60 on the first day of the seasonal academic year in which your masters degree begins
  • not already hold a masters degree or higher qualification.

If you are considering transferring previously completed credit to your OU masters, this could impact your postgraduate loan eligibility. Contact us for further information.

How do the payments work?

You can receive up to £12,471. If you're studying for three or more years and apply for the maximum loan available, you'll receive up to £4,157.00 in the first year and the rest in the second and third years. The loan will be paid directly to you rather than to us.

To receive your first instalment, The Open University must confirm to Student Finance England that you are actively studying. We will do this on or after your module start date. Actively studying includes logging onto your module website, completing module activities, or submitting a Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA).

This example is for a £12,471 loan for a three-year course starting in October. Alternative payment schedules will apply to different qualification start dates and durations.

  October January April
Year 1 £1,371.81 £1,371.81 £1,413.38
Year 2 £1,371.81 £1,371.81 £1,413.38
Year 3 £1,371.81 £1,371.81 £1,413.38


Money paid directly to you

Postgraduate loans are paid directly to you as the student after you’ve started your studies.

You could get up to £12,471 over the duration of your qualification to help you with your study costs.

How do repayments work?

You’ll start repaying your loan the April after you stop studying.

Repayments will only start once you earn £21,000 or more per year. Once you earn £21,000 and over, you’ll pay back 6% of your income over the £21,000 threshold in affordable monthly instalments.

For example, if you earn an annual salary of £30,000 a year, you’ll pay £45 per month towards your loan. Interest will be applied to your loan at the Retail Price Index plus 3%, starting from the date you receive the first instalment.

Any repayments will be in addition to those you make towards an undergraduate loan from Student Finance England.

How to apply

You’ll need to apply directly through Student Finance England. They’ll also be able to provide further information about postgraduate loans and assess your eligibility. As long as you started your masters after 1 August 2016, you can apply for a postgraduate loan up to 9 months after the start of the final year of your qualification.