To be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan you must meet certain criteria. We will consider the following:
Your nationality and residency
Nationality and residency
A Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan may be available to you if:
- you're a UK/ROI national or have 'settled status' (that means no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK);
- you normally live in Northern Ireland;
- you've been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of your course.
You may also be eligible if you’re an EU national and all the following apply:
- you’re living in Northern Ireland on the first day of the first year of your course;
- you’ve normally lived in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for the past three years;
- you’ll be studying at a university in Northern Ireland.
You could also be eligible if you’re:
- a refugee, or a relative of one,
- under humanitarian protection as a result of a failed application for asylum and living in Northern Ireland,
- granted Discretionary Leave to remain in the UK or a relative of someone granted Discretionary Leave to remain in the UK where no application for asylum has been made,
- granted leave to enter or remain in the UK or a relative of someone granted leave to enter or remain as a result of a failed asylum application,
- an EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or a relative of one,
- the child of a Swiss national,
- the child of a Turkish worker, or
- a member of the UK Armed Forces, or a relative of someone in the UK Armed Forces, and studying on a distance learning course outside the UK.
If you’re from another part of the UK but you’re currently living in Northern Ireland while you study, you won’t be classed as ‘ordinarily resident’ in Northern Ireland and won’t be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan from SFNI. You should contact your own funding provider for further information on what postgraduate support will be available.
There is no upper or lower age limit for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan.
Your course must start on or after 1 August 2017, and must be one of the following:
- Postgraduate Master’s;
- Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert);
- Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip).
The course can be studied in attendance at a university or through distance learning.
If you’re studying a Postgraduate Master’s it must lead to a qualification such as:
- Master of Science (MSc)
- Master of Art (MA)
- Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
- Master of Research (MRes)
- Master of Law (LLM)
- Master of Letters (MLitt)
- Master of Fine Art (MFA)
- Master of Education (MED)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Where the Master’s course incorporates another postgraduate qualification of the same or lower level, the Master’s course is eligible for Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan funding. For example, a Master of Law (LLM) is an eligible course whether or not it incorporates a Legal Practice Course (LPC) (the LPC being a Postgraduate Diploma qualification).
It can be taught or research-based and studied either:
- Full time, or part time; and
- must not last longer than three academic years (whether you choose to study full time or part time).
A Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan is not available for:
- Postgraduate Doctoral degrees;
- Master’s degrees that are undertaken as part of a Postgraduate Doctoral Degree;
- postgraduate courses that are eligible for undergraduate support.
Master of Architecture
If you plan to study for a Master of Architecture (MArch) qualification full time, apply for undergraduate support.
The Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan will only be available for a MArch if you’re either:
- taking a part-time course
- aren’t eligible for undergraduate funding for another reason.
Any other sources of funding you receive (including bursary funding) will not affect your eligibility for Postgraduate Loan.
Your university must be in the UK (including Open University) and be publicly funded (paid for by the government).
The Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan will be available to you even if you already hold a postgraduate qualification of any level.
If you have a lower level qualification, such as a postgraduate Certificate or postgraduate Diploma which you have self-funded, and want to ‘top-up’ to a Master’s degree, you will be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan. However, you won’t be able to receive a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan from Student Finance NI if they have provided you with Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan funding before.
If you were unable to complete your course due to compelling personal reasons then you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan for a new course.