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Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL)

Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL)

What is a PCDL?

The PCDL is operated by the Skills Funding Agency through the Co-op bank. It can be used to help fund vocational or work-related training which enhances your job skills or boosts your career prospects but they are not available for all courses. The Co-op Bank website sets out detailed information about PCDLs which we summarise below. 

I’m getting UK government student finance – can I still apply for a PCDL?

Where they are eligible, students will be expected to have applied for the maximum amount of UK government student finance they are eligible for before applying for a PCDL. Students who cannot access student finance or are ineligible for this may also apply for a PCDL. 

Can I apply for one for each year of my course?

A PCDL can help fund a standalone programme of up to two years, or the last two years of a longer programme. So you would normally not be able to take a PCDL until you are within two years of completing your programme, otherwise you would be required to make repayments while you are still studying.

Where can I get an application form?

To request an application pack and to discuss your eligibility for a PCDL with an adviser, contact The National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.

How does the bank assess my application?

To assess your eligibility for a PCDL and make a decision on your application, the bank will consider a number of factors such as:

  • your eligibility for student finance
  • whether your course is for vocational or work-related training
  • your credit history 
  • how long you have been living in the UK

How much can I borrow if my application is successful?

If your application is successful, you can usually borrow between £300 and £10,000 to cover:

  • course costs such as fees, books, travel and childcare
  • living costs such as rent, food and clothing if you are unemployed or working less than 30 hours per week

How much interest is charged on a PCDL?

If you are eligible for a PCDL, the Skills Funding Agency pays the interest on the loan while you are studying and for one month afterwards, after which you would pay it back in instalments with interest. Interest rates on the loans are set to be competitive with commercially available loans. PCDLs are commercial bank loans that are partially government subsidised. At the time of writing this Advice Guide (May 2018), PCDLs are being offered at a rate of 9.9% per annum, equivalent to a typical APR of 5-6% over the lifetime of the loan. Here is an estimate of the repayments you would make depending on the loan amount and term, but you would need to check the exact terms with the bank:








Total payable



36 months





36 months





60 months



Where can I get more information?

There is detailed information about PCDL’s on the Co-op Bank's website, the Moneysavingexpert website and the website.  


EU students – you can apply for a PCDL if you have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least three years before the start of your programme and you intend to work in the European Economic Area after you complete your programme.

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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