Budget updates on masters and doctoral loans
Confirmation of the timeline on a doctoral loan scheme
The 2016 budget statement released on the 16 March confirmed the timeline for loans to PhD students mentioned in the autumn statement last year.
From 2018/19, doctoral loans of up to £25,000 will be available for English students with a place for place for doctoral study at a UK university who are not receiving a research council living allowance.
A technical consultation on the details of the loans is set to follow, but so far, in cases where students receive research council support for tuition fees only, those students would still be eligible for loans.
Expect clarification on whether the loan scheme will be extended to EU students studying in the UK (as with masters loans) and if the research councils will amend their studentships in light of the loans to come in the future.
Doctoral loans repayment rates
The current intention is to set the repayment rate for the doctoral loans at 9%, with a combined repayment rate of 9% for students with both a masters loan and a doctoral loan. If you only take out a masters loan, the repayment rate will remain at 6%. There is still scope for that 9% doctoral rate to change though, with a technical consultation on the details set to follow.
Read the government’s response to the consultation on postgraduate loans and the suggestions being made for doctoral loans at www.gov.uk
Masters loans course eligibility extended
The Budget also confirmed the extension of the masters loans course eligibility criteria to include part time courses that last three years (that have no full-time equivalent).
Part-time course intensity requirements change
There has also been a slight policy change on the course intensity requirements for part-time courses studied over two years (the equivalent of one year’s full-time study).
To accommodate courses where the credits earned over the whole course are weighted to the second year (often a dissertation), there is no minimum intensity in the first year. The average intensity for studying part-time is still 50%, but there is more flexibility around course structure.
Applications for postgraduate masters loans will open in late June.