Government masters/MBA loans in Scotland

How much can I borrow? 

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) provides financial support for Scottish MBA students, including those undertaking an online MBA program. This support is also offered to students studying at universities in England as long as the course isn’t offered at a Scottish university.

Scottish MBA loans are split into two parts; a tuition fee loan that is worth up to £5,500 and a separate loan for living costs of up to £4,500. The postgraduate living cost loan is split equally across the duration of the course, so a student on a full-time one-year course will receive £4,500 for the year, while those on a full-time two-year course will receive £2,250 per year. These loans are not means-tested so your financial situation is not relevant to the amount you will be awarded.

Students must be under 61 years old on the relevant loans application dates to be eligible for the full MBA loans in Scotland.

Does the value of the MBA loan depend on course fees?

Just like in England, the amount you can borrow is not related to the tuition fees. The total amount available for full-time MBA students in Scotland is £10,000. 

Which students are eligible?

Part-time students also qualify for the tuition fee loan of £5,500, as do students who are over 60 years old at the start of the course. However, part-time students or students who are over 60 do not qualify for the maintenance loan of £4,500.

In Scotland Government MBA loans are only available to students without a masters degree in another subject area. You must be a Scottish resident before the start of your MBA course and have lived in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for three years if you are from the EU. Students who have settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) are also eligible. 

Who should you apply to?

Students apply to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) and if you have applied in recent years, for example for an undergraduate loan, you will use your existing log in. Students who are studying after a significant break from their studies will have to create a new account.

What are the application deadlines

Any funding application must be made by the 31st March of that academic year. If you are starting your MBA in September of 2023, for example, then you must apply by the 31st March 2024. It is a good idea to get your application in as early as possible to ensure you receive your funding before the start of the course, and applications for student loans usually open in the June before the September start date.

What about the repayments?

If you find employment after you graduate, you will start paying your loan back when you earn more than a certain amount, known as a ‘salary threshold’ – the salary threshold is currently £25,375.

You’ll start making repayments from April after you graduate or finish your course. The SLC will contact you before you start making payments to explain how this will work.

If your salary is higher than the threshold and you aren’t paying student loan payments, you should speak to your employer. If your salary drops below the salary threshold your payments will be stopped and will start again once it goes back above the salary threshold.

Repayments are made at 9% of any income over the threshold of £25,000 and this is paid through the tax system, as it is in England.

If you earn over the threshold and are employed, repayments will be taken automatically from your salary. If you’re self-employed, your repayments will be part of your self-assessment tax return.

If you also have a Scottish undergraduate loan, this will be combined with the postgraduate loan into one payment of 9% a month.

You will be charged interest from the date you make your first instalment to your university. The rate of interest is linked to the retail price index (RPI) or the Bank of England base rate plus 1%, whichever is lower. 

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