Securing a loan for postgraduate study

In reality, few postgraduate students get by without some sort of loan to meet their living costs or tuition fees - or both. Possibilities include professional and career development loans, the MBA loan scheme and loans from your own bank.

Professional and career development loans (PCDLs) range from £300-£10,000 and cover up to 80 per cent of course fees for vocational (but not conversion) courses.

You make an arrangement with a participating bank (currently Barclays and The Co-operative Bank) and then pay it back in the normal way once you've stopped studying. While you are studying, and for one month afterwards, the government (via the Skills Funding Agency) pays the interest on the loan. If you have been unemployed for a minimum of three months you may be able to apply for 100 per cent of your fees.

These loans can help to fund a wide range of courses lasting up to two years, or three years if the course includes a year of work experience. A PCDL could be an option if you wish to take a professional qualification, a postgraduate course such as a masters, or technical or management training.

More information on professional and career development loans

The NatWest MBA Loan Scheme is available to students on courses accredited by the Association of MBAs. The loan covers tuition fees for every year of full time study and additional costs depending on your circumstances. You can download an application form from the Association of MBAs website or call NatWest on 0800 0151166.

Bank loans are usually available for students on vocational or professional courses, but if you can demonstrate that your intended course will enhance your career prospects, your application will be given serious consideration.