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How to Apply for Postgraduate Student Loans in Northern Ireland

Filed in Loan, Student Loan by on November 18, 2020

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How to Apply for Postgraduate Student Loans in Northern Ireland.

Postgraduate Student Loans in Northern Ireland: If you live in Northern Ireland you are also eligible for a postgraduate loan: there are things needed are simple thing you’ll need to do. In this article, we’ll be showing those necessary things to successfully get qualify for a loan.

Postgraduate Student Loans in Northern Ireland

How Do I Apply for a Postgraduate Loan?

Applications can be made online or sent by post to Student Finance Northern Ireland. The closing date is no later than nine months after the course starts, and you have to apply each year of your course. I’ll advice you apply sooner

How Much Can I Get as a Postgraduate Loan in 2019?

If you’re a Northern Ireland student, you will be entitled to a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500; nevertheless, a loan for living costs is not available. The loan is not means-tested (it is unchanged by your financial status), and will be paid directly to your university.

If perhaps your tuition fees are lesser than £5,500, Student Finance Northern Ireland will only pay what your university charges; you do not get the outstanding money.

You can borrow less than the cost of your course if you wish; as all loans accrue interest (i.e. you repay the loan, plus the interest on the loan), you’ll save yourself money if you are able to pay any part of the fees upfront.

However, tuition fees have risen in recent years, and vary considerably – see our Reddin Survey of University Tuition Fees as a guide. If your course costs more than £5,500, you will need to pay the difference yourself.

How Will my Postgraduate Loan be Received?

Getting your postgraduate loan received can be done when the money is paid directly to the university. If perhaps you are applying to study a postgraduate course that lasts much longer than a year, the amount you get will be divided across the duration of the course.

In Northern Ireland, courses must be completed in three academic years or less, whether they are full- or part-time. Therefore your funding would be as follows:

What are the Loans Repayments Like?

If you have already taken out an undergraduate loan with Student Finance Northern Ireland, your postgraduate loan will automatically be included to it, and you’ll have to make repayments every month to settle the joint debt.

If you don’t already have an undergraduate loan, you will still pay off your postgraduate loan in the same way.

Postgraduate loans in Northern Ireland will be repaid at a rate of 9% of all income above £18,330. You will start to repay your loan the April after your course ends if you are earning above this income threshold. Note, repayments can be taken if you exceed the monthly or weekly threshold at any time (for example if you got a bonus, or worked overtime).

The loans will be subject to interest, which begins to add up once the first loan payment is made to your university. Interest has always remained at 1.5 percent since December 2017; nevertheless, this may be subject to alteration in the future.

After 25 years, if you haven’t paid off your loan in full, the remaining amount will be written off. As a postgraduate qualification should add to your earning potential, it is presumed that you will be able to pay off your loan in full before the 25-year cut-off point.


Personal criteria;

To be eligible for a postgraduate loan in Northern Ireland, you must:

  • You must be a UK or Republic of Ireland national or have ‘settled status’ (i.e. with no restriction on how long you can stay in the UK).
  • You must have lived in Northern Ireland for at least three years prior to the first day of the academic year in which your course begins.

If you’re from elsewhere in the UK and studied an undergraduate degree in Northern Ireland, this does not count as being ‘ordinarily resident’ there: you will need to apply to your home nation.

Equally, if you are from Northern Ireland and studied an undergraduate degree elsewhere in the UK, you will be eligible for a postgraduate loan as your permanent residence is in Northern Ireland. However, if you remained in your country of study to live and work after completing your degree, this may impact your residency status. If you’re unsure, you should contact Student Finance Northern Ireland or your university.

Note, unlike the postgraduate loan systems in England, Scotland, and Wales, where you must be aged under 60 to be eligible, there is no age limit for applicants.

Funding criteria;

  • Postgraduate loans in Northern Ireland can be combined with other types of funding, like charitable grants or scholarships, Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) or NHS Bursaries
  • If perhaps you’re presently getting an undergraduate loan, you will not be able to receive a postgraduate loan; the rule is that you cannot receive two student loans the same time.
  • You can also only receive one postgraduate loan, so if you have initially received a postgraduate loan elsewhere in the UK you will be ineligible – unless you had to stop studying for ‘compelling personal reasons’ such as bereavement or illness.

Course-based Criteria;

In addition to the above criteria, your course must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be a postgraduate qualification up to the master’s level. Unlike in England and Wales, where only master’s degrees are covered by the scheme, students in Northern Ireland will also be entitled to funding if they are studying a postgraduate certificate (PGCert) or postgraduate diploma (PGDip) as well as master’s degrees such as MBAs(be aware, MBA tuition fees are much more than £5,500).
  • The course must be provided by a publicly funded higher education institution in the UK. The course can be studied by attendance or by distance learning.
  • It must be completed in three academic years or less, whether it is full- or part-time.
  • It can be a taught or research course.

Unlike in England and Wales, in Northern Ireland, you can apply even if you already have an equivalent or higher level of qualification. So, if you already have a master’s degree, PGCert, PGDip, or any other postgraduate qualification, you will still be eligible for a postgraduate loan – as long as you haven’t received one before.

Notably, teaching qualifications such as PGCEs and PGDEs are ineligible for postgraduate loans, with alternative funding already available for students of these courses.

Students wishing to study an integrated master’s (where the program is combined with undergraduate study) should normally apply for an undergraduate loan – although a Master of Architecture (MArch) may be an exception if you study part-time. The loan is not eligible for doctoral courses (Ph.D.).

What About EU Students?

If you are an EU student, you will be eligible for a postgraduate loan as long as you have been resident in the EEA or Switzerland for three years, are living in Northern Ireland on the first day of your course, and will be studying at a university or college there.

If you have already been living in Northern Ireland for three years, you can apply as a student from Northern Ireland and study elsewhere in the UK.

Brexit is not set to have any immediate impact on funding, with England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales all confirming that EU students starting a degree in 2018 (and even 2019) will be eligible.

If you’re from outside the EU, it is unlikely that you will be eligible for a postgraduate loan unless you have the right to permanently reside in the UK (e.g. having refugee status). There are also some exceptions for EEA migrant workers, Swiss or Turkish applicants.

CSN Team

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