So, you’ve decided the course you want to take which is one of the most important factors when choosing to do a Masters, however one aspect that is always overlooked is applying for a student loan.
A postgraduate loan differs to an undergraduate loan. One difference is that as an undergraduate, your loan could pay for your uni fees, and additionally you may have chosen to receive a maintenance loan. The maintenance loan would give you three instalments across the year that would probably go towards your rent or living costs. However, with postgraduate loans, you are allowed to borrow up to £10,906 which again is paid in three instalments; however, this is to pay for whatever you choose – including university fees and the loan is paid directly to you, not to the University. As most postgraduate courses at MMU are around £9,000, you need to ensure that the loan is going to help you in the best way possible.
Here are my top 5 tips when applying for a postgraduate loan:
- Ensure you have enough money to get you through the entire year. I’m going to be honest with you here – a master’s degree is a lot more demanding than an undergraduate degree. Although you may not be in university as much, you will have lots of work and reading to do. Therefore, you need to ensure you have enough money to be able to provide for yourself, or ensure you have a part-time job that can help you out with living expenses.
- If you’re not living at home, then make sure you research the most cost-effective accommodation. As you’ll be studying for a year, you need to feel comfortable that you can afford to pay rent and bills whilst studying.
- Make sure you apply quite early. I applied as soon as I got accepted onto my course, therefore I was guaranteed my student loan as soon as I registered in September, which really helped when I was getting settled in to a new environment! The last thing you want is to stress trying to hunt down your student finance.
- Once you have applied for your loan and receive the payment dates – save these somewhere. Trust me, you’ll love yourself for doing it. Once you write down the payment dates, you’ll be able to budget and feel relieved close to the dates. You should also write down the dates the university will take payment for your course, so that you’re aware of when money is going to be coming out of your account, as much as when it’s going in!
- One last tip is that if you can afford to pay your course fees outright, then go for it. The university advises you can borrow up to £10,906 but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to borrow all of that – remember whatever you borrow you’re going to have to pay back, so be (slightly) sensible!