Postgraduate Law & LLM Loans

Unless you are studying towards a PhD in law – which has different government loan offerings in different parts of the UK – then you will be able to avail of Government masters students’ loans in the UK. The salaries of legal professionals tend to be higher than average salaries in the UK, so private and commercial loan providers will often be happier to lend law students money compared with other students in other subject areas.

Government law masters loans in England

What law students are eligible?

Any postgraduate law student or LLM student under the age of 60 can gain access to student loans for masters studies in law in England, and in England PhD law students are also eligible to apply for a UK Government postgraduate loan. Unless you already have a masters or PhD, regardless of what topic it was, then you are eligible to apply for a student loan. Students must be normally resident in England and either be a UK citizen, an EU citizen who has settled or pre-settled status, or have permanent leave to remain in the UK to be eligible. The law school you attend must be in the UK or if you are studying at a combination of universities at PhD level, then you must spend 50% of your time at a UK-based university. For students applying in England, the law school must be a publicly funded one.

Where & when are LLM & postgraduate law loan applications made?

All students must apply through Student Finance England and applications must be completed within nine months of starting the course. You must have a confirmed place on a postgraduate law course before you apply, but you can apply before the course starts.

What about the loan repayments

Postgraduate law and LLM students must start making repayments once they earn over the student loan threshold. The repayments are 9% of any earnings made over this level. For qualified lawyers, they will immediately start making loan repayments when they begin in the April after graduation. The debt is cancelled after 30 years or if the former student becomes too ill to work.

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Government law masters loans in Scotland

What law students are eligible?

In Scotland only law students who are studying either an LLM or another masters level law course are eligible to apply for a Government-funded loan, as PhD or Doctorate level funding is not available in this nation. Postgraduate law masters students and LLM students who are under 60 years old at the start of the course and studying full time are eligible for maintenance loans of £4,500. All students of any age and studying full-time or part-time courses can access the tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Postgraduate law students must also be normally resident in Scotland, be an EU student or have permanent right to remain in the UK. The LLM or masters course must be at a UK-based university that is publicly funded.

Where & when are LLM & postgraduate law loan applications made?

Loan applications are made to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) and they start receiving loan applications online from the summer before the course starts. Applications must be made the 31st of March of the academic year that the LLM or law masters course starts.

What about the repayments?

For Scottish students, repayments start at 9% of any earnings made over the threshold of £19,390 per year. These payments are made via the tax system either through the PAYE system if you are employed or through the self-assessment tax system if you earn over the self-assessment threshold or are self-employed. Just like in England, the debt can be cancelled if a student becomes unable to work due to health reasons or after 30 years, or depending on when they took out their loan, when they are 65.

Government law masters loans in Wales

What law students are eligible?

Any postgraduate law student who has been resident in Wales for the past three years or if they are in the armed services or dependent on someone who is usually based in Wales but deployed elsewhere can apply for student loans and grants in Wales for LLM, masters and PhD studies in the law. The Welsh Government gives out a combination of grants and loans to all masters-level students including law students. The amount of grant and loan that a student receives is based on their income, which means that the higher the household’s income the lower the grant. For students who earn over the household income threshold or do not wish to be assessed, the grant is £1,000 and the loan is up to £16,000. Students must be aged under 60 years of age on the first day of their course and studying an LLM or masters course in a publicly funded UK university. PhD students must spend at least 50% of their time in a UK-based university and all level of law students can study at a private university if the Welsh Government approves of the course.

Where & when are LLM and Postgraduate Law loan applications made?

Applications are made through Student Finance Wales and must be made within nine months of the course starting. Students who miss this deadline can still apply, but may not get the grant and may not receive the payment in time to pay tuition fees.

What about the repayments?

The repayments for postgraduate law loans in Wales are just the same as in England and are made through the tax system. Cancellations to debt are only in the cases of illness or disability or once 30 years have passed.

Government law masters loans in Northern Ireland

What law students are eligible?

Any law masters student can access student loans at any age in Northern Ireland, however, the Northern Irish Government only lends money to postgraduate masters students for tuition fees and does not fund PhD or Doctoral courses. This means that only LLM or masters courses in law qualify for Northern Irish Government funding and the student must be usually resident in Northern Ireland to be eligible. Applications are open to UK citizens, EU citizens and those with a permanent right to remain in the UK or who are refugees or dependent on someone with refugee status.

Where & when are LLM & postgraduate law loan applications made?

Applications are made by the forms available on the Student Finance Northern Ireland website and they advertise here when their loan applications are accepted for that academic year. Students should ensure they make their application within nine months of starting their course to get the funding.

What about the repayments?

The loan repayments in Northern Ireland are made at the same rate as in Scotland with repayments starting the April after the postgraduate law course is completed. Cancellation of the debt is also on similar lines to the rest of the UK with either disability rendering the former law student unable to work/pay or when 30 years has passed.

How much can you borrow in a nutshell?

The amount you can borrow from the UK Government is different for nation to nation and is not related to the course fees – here’s a brief summary of what you can borrow.

What are the interest rates for UK Government loans?

This table shows the interest rates you are expected to pay for a UK Government loan. 

Can you combine UK Governments loans with other loans?

Yes, having a UK Government loan doesn't necessarily exclude you from other loans. If you have funding from another UK Government source, then you won't be able to access UK Government student loans. However, for most law students, this is will not be the case, so you can avail of other funding sources such as private loans, bank loans or employer contributions.

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LLM & postgraduate law-specific private loans

There are private student lenders who have loans tailor made for postgraduate law students and LLM students. Many of these private lenders will require you to either pay a small amount – such as £5 per month each month – while you study, or will let you wait until six months after graduation before the repayments have to start. Private student loan providers do credit checks in the same way as a traditional commercial bank would, but in most cases they do not usually require a guarantor. Lendwise and Prodigy Finance are two of these lenders and they all have different benefits.

Loans from Lendwise

Lendwise offers loans of up to £100,000 to law students to cover all postgraduate study costs. Your potential future earning power after an LLM degree is taken into consideration during your loan application.

Funding from Prodigy Finance

Prodigy Finance specialises in offering loans to students all over the world so is a helpful option for international students. This private lender has plenty of experience in the problems that international LLM or graduate students can face and works in partnership with over 700 institutions worldwide. You can check online to see if the law school you are interested in works in partnership with Prodigy Finance.

Commercial bank loans

If you are already working, then you might be able to access a commercial bank loan. In some instances these might have more favourable interest rates than private student loans, but they will require a guarantor if you have only a little or poor credit history. For part-time law students who are also working in a well-paid position, this could be a good option for funding if you can afford the repayments, and these will start as soon as you take the loan out.

Employer sponsorship

If you are already working in a relevant role and have an established legal career, then you may find that your employer is happy to fund or part-fund some of your studies. Some employers may offer loans to their employees, so they can borrow money from them to pay for tuition fees. Of course, you will have to pay this back even if you leave their employment, and be aware that if your employer funds or part funds your tuition fees, then you should expect to have to agree to work for them for two or three years at least after you have graduated. Students who agree to this and then decide to leave their employer will be liable to pay back any money that their employer had invested in them.

Here we have compiled answers to frequently asked questions about UK masters loans.

Do postgraduate law courses qualify for a UK Government masters loan?

Yes – masters-level postgraduate law courses included LLM programs do qualify for a UK Government masters loan.

Are UK Government masters loans means-tested? 

No – all that matters is that you and your masters course are eligible for the loan, your income and savings do not affect your eligibility.

Can I apply for a UK Government masters loan if I’ve lived outside the UK in the last three years?   

No – to apply for a loan as a UK student you must have lived in the UK for three years prior to your masters course. You can have travelled from the UK for holidays or periods of temporary absence during these three years, but you shouldn’t have become ordinarily resident in another country.

Will my credit history be checked?   

Your personal credit rating and existing debts won’t matter for UK Government masters loans unless you are in arrears with the Student Loans Company. Your credit history will usually be checked with private funding companies like Prodigy Finance and Lendwise.

Can I get a law masters loan whilst working? 

Yes – you can have a job during your masters studies and still access UK Government masters student finance. You will also be able to apply for a private loan from companies like Prodigy Finance and Lendwise if studying your masters whilst working.

Can I apply for a second UK Government masters loan?   

No – you can’t apply for a second masters loan if you have already had one for a previous masters course.

Can I get a UK Government masters loan if I already have a masters degree? 

No – UK Government masters loans are only available to people who do not have existing masters-level qualifications (or higher).

Can I apply for a UK Government masters loan if I already have a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma?   

Yes – you can apply for a loan for a masters degree if you already have a PG qualification below masters level, such as a PGCert or PGDip.

Can I apply for a UK Government masters loan if I already have a PGCE? 

Yes – you can still apply for a masters loan if you already have a PGCE.

Can I get a UK Government masters loan if I already have a PhD? 

No ­ you can’t apply for a loan if you already hold a PhD (or other doctorate), they are only available if you don’t already have existing qualifications at masters level or higher.

When will I have to start making my loan repayments?

Your loan repayments will depend on what home nation or private company you got your loan from as this table illustrates.

If you have any unanswered questions about LLM loans please email us and we will do our best to help.

Disclaimer: Prodigy Finance and Lendwise are two of many potential funding options for postgraduate students. Other student funding options are available; research all your options thoroughly before making a commitment. Please be aware that Postgrad Solutions Ltd receives a commission from both parties for any successful loan applications taken out by Postgrad.com and LLMstudy.com users. Postgrad Solutions accepts no responsibility for your choice of loan and does not endorse or support Prodigy Finance or Lendwise. Prodigy Finance Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and entered on the Financial Services Register under firm registration number 612713. Lendwise Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm registration number 782496.

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