Funding exists for all courses, but just how does it work for a PGCE degree? Does a PGCE degree even have funding of any kind?
PGCE Funding isn't an easy thing to understand. Do you qualify? Do you not? It's tough to know, even if the information is readily available, it can be tough to digest even for everyone involved.
So do you need a bursary or scholarship to study this degree or can you push through without it?
What funding can I get for PGCE study?
There are three strands of PGCE funding available to ensure that no matter what your circumstances, you can afford to go into teacher training. Whichever subject and age group you’re pursuing, from PGCE primary funding to funding for PGCE business studies, we’ve got you covered. Here, we answer all your questions about funding for PGCE study, including: How much PGCE funding is available? How to apply for PGCE funding? What’s a PGCE bursary? Are there any differences between PGCE funding England, Welsh government PGCE funding, and PGCE funding Scotland? All that, plus a few extras…
Can I get funding for PGCE?
Each of the three strands of PGCE funding has their own eligibility criteria. We have a section below to explain each type of funding for PGCE students: student finance, teacher training bursaries, and extra financial support.
Student Finance loan for PGCE
Firstly, there are the PGCE tuition fees to pay. You can use PGCE funding student finance tuition fee loans to cover the full course fees (which are currently up to £9,250). Your income and undergraduate degree classification have no effect on your eligibility for this loan: all UK trainee teachers are entitled to PGCE funding, regardless of circumstance.
You can use student finance tuition fee loans to cover the full course fees.
There are also living costs to cover. Students training in 2019-2020 were able to borrow a maintenance loan of between £3,314 and £11,672, depending on residential status. If you live at home with your parents during term time, then you qualify for the lowest amount, while a full-time student living away from home in London can get the maximum. There is a sliding scale between the two extremes to suit several different cost-of-living situations.
PGCE bursaries and scholarships
That’s the basics covered, but funding PGCE courses doesn’t stop there. There are also bursaries and scholarships available from PGCE government funding to incentivise teacher training. It’s a tough job, after all - and a highly skilled one - so the amount is linked to your degree classification and to the current demand for teachers in that subject. Bursaries are non-repayable, meaning you do not need to pay them back.
For specific guidance about subject-based funding for PGCE courses, scroll down to the ‘PGCE subject funding’ section.
Extra financial support for PGCE
The final strand of PGCE courses funding comes as the extra support available if you have particularly challenging circumstances. In addition to the government loans for PGCE fees and funding, and the subject-based bursary, you could be eligible for extra help if you have a disability, if you are a parent, or if you have an adult dependant. If you do qualify for extra help, you don’t need to repay it.
Specific help includes Child Tax Credits, Disabled Students’ Allowance, Parents’ Learning allowance (up to £1,716 a year), Adult Dependants’ Grant (up to £3,007 a year), and 85% of costs for childcare while you study (up to £169.31 a week for one child, or £290.27 if you have more than one child). Child Tax Credits can be claimed with a form through gov.uk, while the other methods of support come through your Student Finance England application (or other local body if outside England: see ‘PGCE funding UK differences’ for more info).
PGCE subject funding: what’s the difference?
To incentivise teachers to train where they’re most needed, PGCE bursary incentives are tiered according to age range and subject specialism.
Demand for subjects fluctuates, so it’s always worth checking the most recent bursary information. For the application year 2019-2020, primary PGCE funding includes a £6,000 bursary, as there is no shortage of primary teachers, and so the funding for primary PGCE study reflects this. Post compulsory PGCE funding (PCET) is limited only to tuition fee and maintenance loans: there is no training bursary at all.
Demand for subjects fluctuates, so it’s always worth checking the most recent bursary information.
At secondary level, PGCE music funding includes a £9,000 bursary, while PGCE biology funding includes a £26,000 bursary. In some subjects, such as a computing course, chemistry course and a geography course, an even higher amount of £28,000 is available as a scholarship instead of a bursary, and this requires a good degree (2:1 or 1st).
To find out more about primary school PGCE funding or to enquire about less common subjects (such as PGCE psychology funding), contact your local student finance provider.
Do you know which course you’re planning to take? Check out our university course finder.
How to get funding for PGCE?
When applying for funding a PGCE, you’ll need evidence of acceptance onto a course, proof of identification, proof of residency and income. If you think you might be eligible for extra financial support, you will also need evidence of your circumstances, such as your children’s birth certificates.
PGCE funding: how to apply
After accepting your place on a PGCE course, you can apply to Student Finance England (SFE) for a tuition fee loan and maintenance loan. You can apply online, although you may also need to submit paper documents in the post as well.
When to apply for PGCE funding?
As soon as you’ve received the offer for a place on a PGCE course, you should apply for your tuition fee loan and accompanying student finance. It’s not always a fast process, so it’s sensible to request financial support in plenty of time (especially as they might request further evidence or information after your initial submission).
PGCE funding UK: what’s the difference?
A different financial body operates in each part of the UK. For PGCE funding England, you apply to Student Finance England, while PGCE funding Wales goes through Student Finance Wales. You apply to the SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland) for PGCE Scotland funding, and it’s Student Finance NI for PGCE funding Northern Ireland. You should apply to the body associated with the country of study, rather than the country you live in, if they aren’t the same place. So a Scottish student applying for a PGCE at Cardiff University would follow the funding for PGCE Wales route and get their Wales PGCE funding from Student Finance Wales, not the SAAS.
Can you get funding for a second PGCE?
Second PGCEs are not particularly well documented, so it’s hard to say. Having qualified teacher status (QTS) already entitles you to teach any subject in England, as unlike the PGCE itself - which is an academic qualification - QTS is not tied to a single subject. It’s therefore rare (and not necessary) for a teacher to return to university to pursue a second PGCE.
But what about if you don’t have QTS? Student Finance England usually follows the policy that they don’t fund the same level of qualification twice. Their T&Cs state that full support is available if you’re studying a teacher training course and ‘don't hold qualified teacher status’. It’s not explicit, though, whether or not they would offer funding if you began a PGCE course but didn’t complete it, or didn’t earn QTS by passing your NQT year. It’s probable that Student Finance would reduce their loan allowance based on whatever you’ve already received in the past, but it’s important to speak to them about your particular situation.
Student Finance England usually follows the policy that they don’t fund the same level of qualification twice.
Therefore, if you’re interested in funding for a PGCE the second time around, you should contact the relevant student finance body directly to discuss whether you would be eligible for government funding for PGCE study again.
What alternatives are there to PGCE funding?
You could pursue a different route to QTS, such as School Direct or Teach First. These are employment-based training options, so they come with a salary and no tuition fees to pay. Learn about all the different routes to teacher training right here.