PhD Loans of £25K on offer from 2018–19

Loans for PhD students of up to £25,000 will be introduced from 2018–19, the government has announced. 

PhD Loans of £25K on offer from 2018–19

Loans for PhD students of up to £25,000 will be introduced from 2018–19, the government has announced.

Today’s budget announcement from George Osbourne confirms the timescale for the PhD loans as well as unveiling a review of part-time study and graduate earnings to ensure people can make informed decisions” on higher education.

In addition to the above announcements, Mr Osborne declared a further £3.5 billion in cuts across government by 2019–20. Although Treasury figures published after his speech showed the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills budget for 2019–20 unchanged from the Autumn Statement, at £11.5 billion, Mr Osborne has yet to identify where the cuts will be made.

Although the plan for PhD loans was originally announced in last year’s Budget, the government had not given a timescale until now.

Over the last 24 months, UKCGE has lobbied for further financial support to be extended to postgraduate students through its Postgraduate Funding Working Group to ensure fair access for more disadvantaged students.

The government has already given detail on master’s loans, to be introduced from September and in the Budget document states;

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 per cent for doctoral loans and a combined 9 per cent 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 per cent, as announced at Autumn Statement 2015,”

The government also claims it will also extend the eligibility of master’s loans to include three-year part-time courses with no full-time equivalent”.

It continues: To promote retraining and prepare people for the future labour market, the government will review the gaps in support for lifetime learning, including for flexible and part-time study.”

And the document adds: The government will bring together information about the wages of graduates of different courses and the financial support available across further and higher education to ensure that people can make informed decisions about the right courses for them.”

Legislation in 2015 gave the government greater ability to gather data on graduate earnings by course, which supporters say will promote competition and improvement amongst educators”.

On private providers, the document says: The government will continue to free up student number controls for alternative providers predominantly offering degree level courses for the 2017–18 academic year. The best providers can also grow their student places further through the performance pool.”

There will also be science and innovation audits in a number of UK regions to assess research strengths and identify fields where regions could be globally competitive.

Gavin Boyce, Chair of the UKCGE Postgraduate Funding Working Group said,

The availability of funding for English research students without a Research Council living allowance from 2018–19 will be welcome news to the sector. It is important however, that Universities, Business and policy makers continue to think ahead to ensure that the overall investment in research students is sufficient to support our national ambitions for innovation and ensure a sustainable knowledge economy.”


Budget 2016 (HM Treasury)

Budget 2016: PhD loans of £25K on offer from 2018–19 (Times Higher Education)

Student loans extended to postgraduates in Budget (Financial Times)