Chancellor's postgraduate study loans will drive economy

For the first time ever, postgraduate students will be able to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to fund their studies, Chancellor George Osborne has announced in today’s Autumn Statement in the House of Commons.

Posted: 3 December 2014

image for news story Chancellor's postgraduate study loans will drive economy
Roehampton's Pro Vice-Chancellor Reggie Blennerhassett

The move means undergraduates will be able to apply for further funding to study any taught master’s qualification, to continue their studies to a higher level. Existing students can either continue at Roehampton, or move to the University from others around the country.

Welcoming the Chancellor’s landmark announcement, Reggie Blennerhassett, Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Roehampton, said: “Finally we have recognition that highly-qualified people with great employment skills and real in-depth knowledge are what drives this country’s economy, and that master’s level study must be available to all our young people, regardless of their financial situation.

“For far too long, undergraduate students from all backgrounds who have found a real academic interest and wanted to progress their careers have been stymied by the lack of funding for postgraduate study. Opening up the student loans book will allow study in so many areas to continue to a higher level, bringing a greater depth of knowledge to the public and private sectors. It’s graduates with this knowledge and workplace skills which will ultimately drive the national economy forwards, and we’re pleased the Chancellor has recognised this.

“I will be very interested to see further details about exactly how the transitional year’s funding arrangement will work, but in the main this is good news for higher education.”

The loans are described as ‘income-contingent’ in the full Autumn Statement (pages 43-44) which states they will be available from the 2016-17 academic year to people under 30 years old who wish to study for a taught masters qualification in any subject.

The loans will not be interest free and will be repaid concurrently with undergraduate loans and are designed so that, on average, individuals will repay in full, in recognition of the high private return, but they will beat commercial rates, the Treasury says.

The announcement is expected to benefit around 40,000 students, and enable around 10,000 more individuals to take advantage of postgraduate study each year.

To support students until these loans are in place, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will allocate £50 million in 2015-16 to universities to offer bursaries on a match funded basis. These will be £10,000 each and will benefit 10,000 students

Read about postgraduate study at Roehampton

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