A new loan scheme was announced by the Chancellor in last week’s Autumn Statement that would entitle students seeking to study at a postgraduate level of up to £10,000.
According to Mr Osborne, it will ‘revolutionise’ the access that students across the country will have to postgraduate education. Treasury forecasts predict that this loan scheme will result in an additional 10,000 individuals seeking postgraduate courses, and it will be of benefit to some 40,000 students already studying at universities across the country.
The proposed system is by no means perfect, but it is definitely an important step in the right direction
The loans will need to be repaid in full to government along with undergraduate loans paid out to students. As with undergraduate loans, students will have to be earning over £21,000 per year before they begin repayments.
Anas Elhag, the SU postgraduate Officer for the University of Nottingham stated that, “I was so delighted hearing the announcement of the student loan system for postgraduate master’s degree. Of course, the proposed system is by no means perfect, but it is definitely an important step in the right direction that will allow more students to consider and actually stay for a Master’s Degree.”
As a result of having to self-fund my masters, I have had to choose to do my course over two years, instead of just one, so that I can have the time to earn money to continue
Due to a lack of funding from government in recent years, a high proportion of postgraduate students in the UK are self-funded, with many taking on part-time work to support their study.
A Master’s student studying clinical Psychology told Impact, “It is difficult having to balance a job and my studies. As a result of having to self-fund my masters, I have had to choose to do my course over two years, instead of just one, so that I can have the time to earn money to continue.”
We are still hoping that the Government will create a funding system which will have equal access for all without the high risks of accruing more debt
This funding will be available to students from 2016-17, according to the government, which will see more people able to take postgraduate courses full-time. It will benefit those students seeking further education, but unable to self-fund their course.
However, the loans of up to £10,000 will only be available to students under the age of 30. This means that mature students will still have to self-fund any postgraduate courses they take, and this will leave mature students in the same position as at present.
It means I, and others, will not be excluded from potentially seeking a postgraduate degree due to economic status
Elhag commented, “We are particularly happy that the loans system isn’t restricted to particular discipline areas, but we are against it being not applicable to those over 30 years old. We are still hoping that the Government will create a funding system which will have equal access for all without the high risks of accruing more debt.”
A first year Biology student hoping to go onto study at postgraduate level, said, “It is brilliant that the government are offering these loans. It means I, and others, will not be excluded from potentially seeking a postgraduate degree due to economic status.”
The treasury report states that the loans will require £300 million in 2016-17 reflecting the expected rise in the numbers of students expected to seek postgraduate study as a result. In the following year this is expected to rise to £425 million, but then drop down in successive years to £395 million and £365 million respectively.