PhD loans of up to £25,000 have been confirmed by the UK government for individuals starting an eligible level 8 qualification in 2018. The loan is intended to be a contribution to the cost of the qualification, whether on tuition, maintenance, or any other costs associated with study.
In November 2016, the Department for Education launched its public consultation on technical details of the postgraduate doctoral loan. The Government consultation response published in March 2018 outlines the final features. The key terms are as follows:
- Eligible individuals will be able to borrow up to £25,000 for the purpose of completing an eligible postgraduate doctoral qualification.
- The loan will be available for students ordinarily resident in England who wish to study in the UK.
- Individuals will only be eligible for the loan if they are aged 59 or under on the first day of the first academic year of their course.
- Individual eligibility will not be based on a means test.
- Individuals already holding an equivalent level qualification will not be eligible for the loan.
- Students will only be eligible for the loan if the programme of study is a minimum of three years and a maximum of eight years.
- Repayments will commence once the borrower has an annual income of £21,000 or more.
- The loan interest will be calculated at RPI+3% and interest will accrue from the date of the first loan instalment.
- The loan will be added to the master's loan if the borrower has also previously taken this loan out. The loan repayment will be calculated at 6% of income above the income threshold. These repayments will occur alongside any outstanding undergraduate student loan repayments.
- Any outstanding doctoral loan balance will be written off thirty years after the date the borrower's loan balance becomes due for repayment.