Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, funding schemes are still running largely as normal, whether the programme in question is online, in-person or a combination of the two.
Are postgraduate loans affected?
The Student Loans Company has released detailed guidance for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as Scotland. These are the main points to bear in mind:
- Applications for postgraduate Masters loans and PhD loans are open as normal.
- Repayments for student loans aren’t affected by the coronavirus. You will still only repay when you are earning over the income threshold for your loan.
Universities will also have discretion as to how they record your attendance. You should still be able to receive your postgraduate loan if your course switches to online study, provided you are continuing to engage with your course. It’s best to check this with your university.
Are PhD studentships affected?
The main source of UK Government funding for PhDs is UK Research and Innovation, which funds generous studentships for successful applicants across a wide range of subject areas.
Applications for UKRI-funded PhD projects are opening as normal, with deadlines extended for some funding opportunities. You can find out more about applying for Research Council funding in our dedicated guides:
If you’re currently on a PhD studentship and your work has been disrupted by the pandemic, you may be able to apply for a grant extension.
For more information, please read UKRI’s guidance for researchers affected by the coronavirus.
Will postgraduate students get a fee discount?
The UK Government hasn’t announced an overall reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate students, but it’s worth checking with your prospective university to see what their current policy is. Some institutions have offered alumni discounts, while others have provided coronavirus-specific reductions in fees for people affected by the crisis.
We recommend consulting our guides to university funding for Masters and PhD programmes to find the best places to start looking for these kinds of discount.
GREAT Scholarships and coronavirus
The British Council’s GREAT Scholarship scheme operated as normal for the 2021-22 year, although applications are now closed.
Chevening Scholarships and coronavirus
Applications for the 2022-23 Chevening programme are now open, with a deadline of 2 November 2021.
If you’re a current Chevening scholar and decide to return home early, you’ll still be able to receive your stipend if you’re completing your course by distance learning. You’ll just need to sign a ‘remote learning agreement’. Similarly, if travel restrictions mean that you can’t travel to the UK for the beginning of your Masters, you’ll still be eligible for Chevening funding.