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Budget: details on doctoral loans announced

March 16, 2016

Again, not mentioned in George Osborne’s setpiece statement in the Commons, but details on postgraduate loans for doctoral study were included in the accompanying Budget documents.

1.101 From 2018-19, loans of up to £25,000 will be available to any English student without a Research Council living allowance who can win a place for doctoral study at a UK university. They will be added to any outstanding master’s loan and repaid on the same terms, but with the intention of setting a repayment rate of 9% for doctoral loans and a combined 9% repayment rate if people take out a doctoral and master’s loan. The government will launch a technical consultation on the detail. Those who take out only a master’s loan will still repay at 6%, as announced at Autumn Statement 2015.

The new details here cover the total amount – £25 000  – and how the loans for doctoral study combine with the £10 000 available for taught post-graduate courses. Up to £35 000 is therefore available for PG study, but those who only take out PGT loans will repay at 6% above the repayment threshold of £21 000, while those who take out doctoral loans (or both) will repay at 9%. These loans are to be repaid concurrently with undergraduate loans meaning those with UG and PGT loans will have a combined repayment rate of 15%, and those with UG and doctoral loans repay at 18% over £21 000.

The government estimates that around 10-11 ooo students will access these loans each year once they become available in 2018/19. It is not clear whether students would be able to access the whole £25 000 at once. The loans are meant to contribute towards fees and living costs.



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