Postgraduate loan scheme - good or bad??


Hi, I wondered if anyone has experience of the postgraduate loan scheme that the Government launched a few years back? Currently you can borrow up to £10,609 to pay for a Masters degree or £25,00 for a PhD. You start paying the loan back when you've completed your course and you're on a salary of £21,000 or above (which seems a bit low to me..) You pay back 6% of your income over the minimum amount (‘threshold’) of £21,000.
I was thinking of taking out one of these loans as I've always wanted to do a Masters or maybe even a PhD but have never been able to afford it. I've done some research on these loans and read both good and bad opinions - what worries me most is that the Government can change the terms and conditions of the repayment amounts, which is scary as I'm already in debt with my undergraduate loan and am not on a great income (currently just over £22,000 so I'd have to start paying the loan back straight away) and am not in good financial circumstances. I'd like to hear anyone's opinions / experience of this loan scheme as it's a big decision for me, but I'm wondering if I should take advantage of these loans whilst they're available. And also before it's too late, as I graduated with my first degree in 2002 and I'm now 48.


I wouldnt advise someone whether or not a loan was a good idea but at 22k and 6% you will only be paying £5 per month in repayments regardless of your debt.


Jane 360 - If you want to do it - go ahead!

As pm133 pointed out its only £5 per month

Assuming your salary stays the same until age 67, the most you would pay back is £1140, then presumably in retirement your income would fall below the threshold, and you would pay nothing. Balance then gets written off after 30 years.

£1140 for a masters AND doctorate seems cheap to me.


Thanks for your responses. I am seriously thinking of applying for one of these loans. I'm going to a postgrad open evening next week at my local university so I can find out more about them there. My main concern is that unlike for example private bank loans, they can change the terms and conditions afterwards, such as the payback threshold and the percentage. But it's something to take advantage of as they weren't available at one time and they might not be available in the future.

Avatar for Mark_B

Hi Jane,

I'm a bit of a Postgraduate Loan 'geek' (someone has to be) having been responsible for the resources over at FindAMasters and FindAPhD since George Osborne (remember him?) first announced the loans back in 2014.

You're right that the Govt can change the threshold and rate. I'd personally say that they're unlikely to make the terms worse. The most recent big change to student finance was a threshold rise for undergraduate loans (from £21k to £25k pa). It's more likely that the same would happen for PG (though not currently on the cards) than that they'd lower the threshold. Never say never, of course, but perhaps that can offer some limited reassurance.



I got a career development loan to fund part of my Masters fees, but for my PhD I applied for a programme with a stipend attached. Personally, I would not pay for a PhD using a loan/my own money.