How to ease the financial burden
All four home countries have loans or loan/grant combinations to help students fund postgraduate courses. Non-repayable Disabled Students’ Allowances are also available.
The system works in broadly the same way as those for undergraduates: you repay your student loan when your income exceeds about £19,000. Repayments are 9% of the amount you earn above the threshold – a higher rate than for undergraduate loans.
In England, up to £10,906 is available to help full-time and part-time students with course fees and living costs. But loan funding is not available for postgraduate diploma or certificate courses, only for master’s programmes, and you won’t be eligible for a loan if you already have a master’s in another subject .
In Scotland, loans of up to £5,500 are available for course fees and up to £4,500 for living costs for postgraduate courses, including diplomas.
In Wales, master’s students can tap into funding of up to £17,000 for fees and living costs in a combined grant/loan package. The grant/loan weighting is determined by household income.
In Northern Ireland, loans of up to £5,500 are available to cover fees only for master’s and postgraduate diploma and postgraduate certificate courses.
Individual universities routinely give discounts of up to 25% off postgraduate course fees to their recent undergraduates.
Many institutions also have a scholarship or bursary schemes targeted at their existing undergraduates, people in the local area, disadvantaged students or academic high-achievers. Ulster University’s SSE Airtricity Scholarships, for example, have supported students on undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
There are also a few general scholarship schemes around, including the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust, which makes grants of between £500 and £1,500 to mature students with a strong academic track record.
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You may be able to apply to the Museums Association Benevolent Fund which provides support to MA members for professional development.