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Appendix – eligibility for the Postgraduate Loan

Appendix – eligibility for the Postgraduate Master's and Doctoral Loans

The following is a very broad list of people who may meet the eligibility criteria for a UK Government Postgraduate Master's/Dcotoral Loan. Each category of eligibility has very specific requirements, and this is just a broad description below, so to check if you meet the category of eligibility which you have identified, please contact a Welfare Adviser. Please note that at the end of this section there are explanations of the meaning of the terms ‘settled status’ and ‘ordinarily resident’.

  1. A person who on the first day of the first academic year of the course (this is 1st September for courses starting between September and December) has settled status in the UK (and not due to having acquired the right of permanent residence), and is ordinarily resident in England, and has been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands throughout the 3 year period immediately before the first day of the first academic year of the course (1st September), and not wholly or mainly to receive full-time education.
  2. A person who on the first day of the first academic year of the course (this is 1st September for courses starting between September and December) has settled status in the UK due to having acquired the right of permanent residence, and is ordinarily resident in England, and has been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands throughout the 3 year period immediately before the first day of the first academic year of the course (1st September). If the 3 years residence in the UK was wholly or mainly to receive full-time education, you must have been ordinarily resident in the EEA or Switzerland before that 3 year period.
  3. A person who is a refugee, and is ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands and has not ceased to be resident since being recognised as a refugee, and who is ordinarily resident in England on the first day of the first academic year of the course (this is 1st September for courses starting between September and December). There is also provision for the spouse, civil partner or child of a refugee to be eligible, subject to certain criteria.
  4. A person who has been granted humanitarian protection, and is ordinarily resident in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course (this is 1st September for courses starting between September and December), and who has been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands throughout the 3 year period immediately before 1st There is also provision for the spouse, civil partner or child of a person granted humanitarian protection to be eligible, subject to certain criteria.
  5. EEA and Swiss nationals who are working (including as self-employed) in the UK and who are ordinarily resident in England on the first day of the first academic year of the course (this is 1st September for courses starting between September and December), or EEA and Swiss nationals who are frontier workers (including as self-employed). You must have been ordinarily resident in the EEA or Switzerland for the 3 year period immediately before the first day of the first academic year of the course (1st September). The relevant family members of such people are also eligible as long as they also meet the relevant residence criteria. Please check with a Welfare Adviser if you think you might meet this category of eligibility as there are specific requirements to meet the definition of worker/self-employed/frontier worker.
  6. A person who was ordinarily resident in England and settled in the UK immediately before leaving the UK to exercise a right of residence to live in the EEA or Switzerland. This can include where you were accompanying your relevant family member who was exercising their right to live in the EEA or Switzerland. You must also be ordinarily resident in the UK on the day on which the first term of the first academic year actually begins and you must have been ordinarily resident in the territory comprising the EEA and Switzerland throughout the three-year period preceding the first day of the first academic year of the course. If your ordinary residence was wholly or mainly for the purposes of receiving full-time education,  you must have been ordinarily resident in the territory comprising the EEA and Switzerland immediately before the 3 year period preceeding the first day of the first academic year of the course.
  7. A person who is an EU national, or their relevant family member, who is attending a course in England, and who has been ordinarily resident in the EEA and Switzerland throughout the 3 year period immediately before the first day of the first academic year of the course (this is 1st September for courses starting between September and December), and not wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education. The relevant family members of such people are also eligible as long as they also meet the relevant residence criteria.
  8. A person who is a non-UK EU national on the first day of the first academic year of the course (this is 1st September for courses starting between September and December), and is ordinarily resident in England on that date, and has been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands throughout the 3 year period immediately before 1st September, and if that residence was wholly or mainly to receive full-time education then immediately prior to that period they must have been ordinarily resident in the EEA and Switzerland.
  9. Children of Swiss nationals, subject to certain specific criteria – please check with a Welfare Adviser.
  10. Children of Turkish workers – please check with a Welfare Adviser.
  11. A person who has long residence in the UK. Specifically on the first day of the first academic year of the course (this is 1st September for courses starting between September and December) you must be either:
  • Under 18 and have lived in the UK throughout the preceding 7 year period; or
  • Aged 18 or above and, before the first day of the first academic year of the course, have lived in the UK throughout either half your life, or a period of 22 years

You must also be ordinarily resident in England on 1st September, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands throughout the 3 year period immediately before 1st September, and your residence during the 3 years must not have been wholly or mainly to receive full-time education.

     12. For courses starting from the 2018/19 academic year, there is a new category of eligibility. This is for someone who has been granted (and continues to hold) leave to remain as a stateless person under the immigration rules, and who has been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom and Islands throughout the period since they were granted such leave. It includes the relevant family members of such a person. 

I’m from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland - can I receive a Master's Loan?

Our current understanding is that UK nationals must satisfy SFE that your current and most recent place of normal residence is England. Therefore:

  • You must be living in England on the first day of the first academic year of the course (1st September), and
  • You should have been living here for at least 3 months immediately prior to 1st September; and
  • You must not have moved to England from elsewhere in the UK and Islands solely for the purpose of studying, or attending the postgraduate course or, disregarding any intervening vacation, a course that you were undertaking immediately before the current course. “Immediately” generally means when a student starts a master’s course in the semester/term that follows the end of their previous course.   In other words, if you were not studying, would you be living in England or elsewhere?
  • If you moved to England to undertake an undergraduate course which you have now completed, you would not automatically be eligible for a PGL for a postgraduate course, unless you could demonstrate to SFE that you are now ordinarily resident in England, for example after your undergraduate course you stayed in England to work.

The application form requires you to provide three years of address history.

The Welsh Government offers Master's Loans to Welsh domiciled students to study taught and research Masters anywhere in the UK. There is more information on the findamasters.com website.

Scottish domiciled students can also apply for a PGL of up to £10,000 to study anywhere in the UK.

Northern Ireland domiciled students can apply for a PGL of up to £5,500 to study anywhere in the UK.

For more information about eligibilty and repayments see the 'Country Guides' page of the FindAMasters webpage.

I’m from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland - can I receive a Doctoral Loan?

The Welsh Government offers Doctoral Loans to Welsh domiciled students studying anywhere in the UK. For more information see the Student Finance Wales website

Doctoral loans are currently not available to those who live in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What does ‘settled status’ mean?

'Settled' means being both ordinarily resident in the UK and without any immigration restriction on the length of your stay in the UK.

What does ‘ordinarily resident’ mean?

You are ordinarily resident somewhere if you have habitually, normally and lawfully resided in that area from choice. Temporary absences from the residence area should be ignored and therefore would not stop you being ordinarily resident. It has also previously been successfully argued in the UK courts that an individual can be ordinarily resident in more than one place at the same time; individuals wishing to demonstrate this would have to be living a lawful, normal and habitual residence in each of the areas in question.

If you can demonstrate that you have not been ordinarily resident in the relevant residence area only because you, or a family member, were temporarily working outside the relevant residence area, you will be treated as though you have been ordinarily resident there.

Where a category includes a condition that the main purpose of your residence must not have been to receive full-time education, a useful question to ask is: "if you had not been in full-time education, where would you have been ordinarily resident?". If the answer to this question is "outside the relevant residence area" this would indicate that the main purpose for your residence was full-time education. If the answer is that you would have been resident in the relevant residence area even if you had not been in full-time education, this would indicate that full-time education was not the main purpose for your residence in the relevant area.


Disclaimer:
Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

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