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UK student loans

RCM opera singer during a production of Handel's Giove in Argo
UK students on one of our BMus, Masters or Doctoral courses may be eligible for funding support from the UK Government through the Student Loans Company (SLC).  EU students who commenced studies prior to 1 January 2021 may also be eligible for some funding support for tuition but the rules are changing for EU students commencing studies after the UK has left the EU.

Information will be updated for courses starting in September 2021 as soon as it is available from the UK government.

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The UK's departure from the EU

The UK’s immigration system is changing following Brexit. A new student visa route has been introduced and this has been opened for all international students, not just EEA nationals, on 5 October 2020. There are also changes with regard to fee status and access to funding support.

Read more here

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Undergraduate loans

Tuition fee loan for UK & continuing EU students

All eligible students, regardless of household income, can apply for a loan to cover the full tuition fee. This is paid by the government directly to the RCM. You need to apply for a tuition fee loan for each year of study.

Information for the 2021/22 academic year will be posted when available from the UK government.

Student maintenance loan for UK students only

For courses starting in 2020-21 eligible students living away from home in London can apply for a loan of up to £12,010 a year to help with living expenses whilst studying. Information will be updated for courses starting in September 2021 as soon as it is available from the UK government. The exact amount you can borrow depends on your household income. Use the Student Finance Calculator to check how much you can borrow. 

Students from Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland

The application procedure and nature of support available is slightly different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Students from these countries are advised to check the following websites for further details:

Student Awards Agency for Scotland

Student Finance Wales

Student Finance Northern Ireland

How to apply

You can find out more information about undergraduate student loans and make an online application via the UK Government website.

Apply for an undergraduate student loan

Repayments for undergraduate students from England & the EU

You will only begin paying back your student loan once you are earning over a certain threshold. This threshold is currently £25,000 per year. You pay 9% of your income over the repayment threshold.

If your income falls below £25,725 per year, your repayments stop. After 30 years, if you have not repaid your loan in full, the rest is written off.

  • If annual income is £25,725 or less, monthly repayments: £0
  • If annual income is £28,000, monthly repayments: £17
  • If annual income is £30,000, monthly repayments: £32
  • If annual income is £32,000, monthly repayments: £47

You should check the UK Government website for the most up-to-date information.

Students engaging with an academic class

Masters loans

Postgraduate students from the UK who are ordinarily resident in England who are enrolled on courses that begin in Autumn 2020 are eligible to borrow up to a maximum of £11,222 for their entire course. 

Information will be updated for courses starting in September 2021 as soon as it is available from the UK government.

Students on two-year Masters programmes (eg MPerf) are eligible to borrow up to £5611 per year.

Payments are made directly to students in termly instalments.

Payments for part-time students are divided equally over the duration of your course.

Find out more

Education provision is a devolved matter for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so students who are ordinarily resident in these nations of the UK will not be eligible for loans from Student Finance England. Please refer to the websites of Student Awards Agency Scotland, Student Finance Wales and Student Finance Northern Ireland for further details of alternative arrangements and to check your eligibility. 

Eligibility

Only Masters degree courses are eligible, not other postgraduate qualifications. Courses can be for one or two years full-time, or three or four years part-time.

Students who already hold a Masters qualification, or other equivalent or higher level qualification, will not be eligible to apply.

For 2020 entry, borrowers must either be:

  • UK nationals, who have been ordinarily resident (ie not just for the main purpose of education) in the UK for three years before the first year of the course, and most recently in England.
  • EU students who are starting a degree course at an institution in England (ie the RCM) who have been ordinarily resident in the EU/EEA or Switzerland for three years prior to starting their course.

You may also be eligible if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are an EEA or Swiss migrant worker or the family member of one.
  • You are the child of a Turkish worker.
  • You have refugee status / humanitarian protection or are the family member of someone who does.
  • You are aged 18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years or at least half your life.

Information on eligibility for 2021 entry will be updated when available.

How to apply

Applications are not open yet, but we recommend that you apply from late June at the link below, to ensure that your funding is in place by September.  

Applications should be submitted online via the UK Government website. If you already have an undergraduate student loan for a previous course, you can log in using the same account.  

You will need your passport details and, if you are a UK national, your National Insurance number. Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to provide some supporting documentation to prove your residency.  You only need to apply once for a postgraduate loan, even if your course lasts more than one year.  

Apply for a postgraduate student loan

Repayments for masters students

The interest rate on the loan is currently 6.1%. The rate is set by adding 3% to the Retail Price Index (RPI), which is reviewed each September.  

Repayments will be calculated at 6% of annual income above £21,000. For example, a graduate earning £25,000 per year would repay £30 of undergraduate loan and £20 of postgraduate loan each month, making a total monthly repayment of £50. 

Payments will be made concurrently alongside repayment of any undergraduate student loan.

Repayments through HMRC will not start before the April after graduation, although voluntary repayments can be made at any time.

Any outstanding loan will be written off after 30 years.

Please note that these details may change and you should check the UK Government website for the most up-to-date information.

Doctoral loans

Doctoral students from the UK who are ordinarily resident in England who enrolled on courses that began in Autumn 2020 were eligible to borrow up to a maximum of £26,445 for their entire course.

Details of Doctoral loans for 2021 entrants will be published on this webpage as soon as they are available.

Payments are made directly to students and can be used for tuition fees or living costs.

The loan is divided equally over each year of your course, paid in termly instalments.

Find out more

Education provision is a devolved matter for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so students who are ordinarily resident in these nations of the UK will not be eligible for loans from Student Finance England.

Eligibility

Courses can be for three to eight academic years in duration, full or part time.

Students who have already received a Doctoral loan, or who have received or will receive Research Council funding, will not be eligible to apply.

For 2020 entry, borrowers must be:

  • Aged under 60 on the first day of the first year of the course.
  • UK nationals, who have been ordinarily resident (ie not just for the main purpose of education) in the UK for three years before the first year of the course, and most recently in England OR
  • EU students who are starting a degree course at an institution in England (ie the RCM) who have been ordinarily resident in the EU/EEA or Switzerland for three years prior to starting their course.

Students who already hold a qualification that is equal to or higher than a doctoral degree are not eligible for doctoral loans (this includes qualifications at level 8 such as the RCM's Artist Diploma).

You may also be eligible if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
  • You are an EEA or Swiss migrant worker or the family member of one.
  • You are the child of a Turkish worker.
  • You have refugee status / humanitarian protection or are the family member of someone who does.
  • You are aged 18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years or at least half your life.

Information on eligibility for 2021 entry will be updated when available.

How to apply

Applications will open in late June 2020, at the link below.

Applications should be submitted online via the UK Government website. If you already have an undergraduate student loan for a previous course, you can log in using the same account.  

You will need your passport details and, if you are a UK national, your National Insurance number. Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to provide some supporting documentation to prove your residency.  You only need to apply once for a postgraduate loan, even if your course lasts more than one year.  

Apply for a postgraduate student loan

Repayments for doctoral students

The interest rate on the loan is currently 6.1%. The rate is set by adding 3% to the Retail Price Index (RPI), which is reviewed each September.  

Repayments will be calculated at 6% of annual income above £21,000. If you already have a Masters Loan then you will make a combined repayment of 6% covering both postgraduate loans.  Payments will be made concurrently alongside repayment of any undergraduate student loan.

For example, a graduate earning £25,000 per year would currently repay £30 of undergraduate loan and £20 of postgraduate (Masters and Doctoral) loan each month, making a total monthly repayment of £50. 

Repayments through HMRC will not start until you are earning over £21,000 and not before the first April after you finish your course, although voluntary repayments can be made at any time.

Any outstanding loan will be written off after 30 years.

Please note that these details may change and you should check the UK Government website for the most up-to-date information.

Additional information

You can find lots more information at The Student Room, where you can also find an active student community forum.

Visit The Student Room