Thursday 16-06-2016 - 09:00
Mahamid Ahmed, NUS Postgraduate Taught NEC Representative, blogs about the arrival of loans for master’s students.
The new master’s loans scheme is here and applications for the 2016-2017 entry are opening shortly after today (Thursday 16 June), when new government regulations on postgraduate loans come into force.
You can apply via Student Finance England for the loan. The eligibility criteria are that it is open to all EU and home students living in England at the start of their course. The loan is also portable for English-domiciled students who wish to study at an institution in another nation of the UK (Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).
NUS was at the forefront of the debate about creating postgraduate loans when they were first bought up in the Higher Education sector a few years ago. Not only that, we also managed through our #CapsOff campaign to convince the government that the age cap should come off the loans so it is now available for those over 30 and under 60. The loan is also now available for distance learners so long as they are studying in the UK.
Our #CapsOff campaign involved working with students’ unions and students on the ground to lobby MPs and get Vice Chancellors of different institutions to speak out on behalf of students to remove the cap. We presented wide-ranging benefits on why those aged 30+ should have access to the new system; these included; the economic arguments for reskilling and upskilling for the 31-35 age group and the loan being vital to women with caring responsibilities, the lack of savings that the 31-44 age group have.
I’m proud of the work NUS and students’ unions did to improve access to funding for postgraduates. It was a great achievement that we convinced the rest of the Higher Education sector to argue for #CapsOff against the government, and I’m sure this is a sign of great things to come from both the NUS Postgraduate Campaign and Higher Education Zone.
For further information on the loans,visit www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan.