The government postgraduate loan
You may have heard that funding for masters degrees is changing – and have no fear, it's only for the better. As of August 2016, the government are providing postgraduate students with a repayable loan. However the loan is only available for full masters degrees, not diplomas – this means that the GDL, LPC, and BPTC are exempt, but the LLM is eligible!
Can I get a government loan for my LLM course?
The loan is available for any student who wants to do a masters course, and is not based on household income. The loan is up to £10,000, paid in three instalments, unless you do a part-time course, in which case you'll receive £5,000 in your first year and the remaining amount in your second. It's up to you how much you want and what you want to do with it – unlike the undergraduate loan, you are paid the entire sum directly, rather than it going straight to your university to cover your fees.
You'll be eligible no matter what university you go to, as long as it's in the UK. You do have to be under 60 on the first day of the academic year, however, so sadly your grandma can't go with you.
As well as your university having to be in the UK, you also kinda have to be here. You must be a UK or EU national, or have lived in the UK for three years.
You also can't get a loan if you've done any other postgraduate masters courses.
Repaying your postgraduate student loan
Sadly this is a loan, not a bursary that we're talking about, and you do have to pay the money back. The loan will start gaining interest from the day of your first instalment, but like your undergraduate loan you don't have to start paying until you're earning £21,000 a year.
Your repayments will be 6% of your income over the threshold – so if you earn £22,000, you'll pay 6% of £1,000, which is £60 a year. Which is quite manageable.
You will have to pay off any undergraduate loans at the same time however, as well as income tax and national insurance contributions – but you'd be doing that whether or not you do a masters.
These might be a lot of numbers to take in, but it's worth remembering that before this you would have to get a bank loan with a much less kind interest rate. Now LLMs are far more accessible financially.