Advanced Learner Loans
If you are aged 19 or over and applying to study at Level 3 or above, you could be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan.
Most learners, studying an approved course at Level 3 and above, will qualify for these loans. It’s easy to apply, your household income isn’t taken into account and there is no credit check. You won’t have to pay anything back until your income is over £25,725 a year.
Making the right choice
It’s important you consider your own circumstances and look into all options for paying for your course before choosing to take out a loan. You can get independent financial advice from the Money Advice Service at https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en
How much can you get?
The amount you will get depends on:
- the type of course you take
- how much the fees are for the course
- the minimum loan you can get is £300.
Which courses are eligible?
Courses at Level 3 or above qualify (such as a Certificate or Diploma). Courses eligible for funding via Advanced Learning Loans are approved by the Skills Funding Agency. If you are unsure if the course you are looking to study is eligible please call us for further details.
To get a loan you must be:
- 19 or older on the first day you start your course and the start day of your course (there’s no upper age limit)
- Living in the UK on the first day of your course, and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years immediately before the start date of the course
- Studying at a college or a training organisation in England approved for public funding
- If you are aged 19 – 23 and do not already have a full Level 3 qualification, you will be entitled to receive free tuition and won’t need to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan
- If you are aged 19 – 23 and already have a full Level 3 qualification, you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.
How many Advance Learner Loans can I apply for?
You can apply for more than one Advanced Learning Loan (up to four in total); you can also receive a loan for courses of the same level and type (e.g. Level 3 Diploma in Carpentry and Level 3 Diploma in Plumbing). You’ll be able to take out further loans to complete different types or levels of eligible courses.
How and when to apply?
You can apply for a loan from May for courses starting between 1 August 2020 and 31 July 2021. You can apply online or download an application form.
Before applying you will require a ‘Learning and Funding Information Letter’ from the college. You will need this to apply for your loan. If you do not receive this, please contact our student finance team. We encourage you to be organised and have your loan in place before enrolment to avoid having to pay a refundable deposit to guarantee your place on your course.
This is NOT an offer of a place on a course, which you will need to discuss with curriculum at enrolment; but enables you to have your loan in place to enrol. Please check your course fees are correct before applying for your loan.
You can complete your application online or download an application form from the Government website. Applying online is the quickest method of application, however if you do choose to submit a paper application please ensure you complete all information fully to ensure your application is not unnecessarily delayed.
You will submit your application to Student Finance England who will then process this and inform you and the college of the decision.
What you need to know
You will need a National Insurance number before any monies can be paid and should have this available to enter on your loan application form. You need your passport details or another form of identity to apply – e.g. your birth certificate.
How is the loan paid
Student Finance England (SFE) will pay the loan directly to the college.
What happens if you withdraw from your course?
If you withdraw from your course within two weeks of the course start date, the loan will not come into effect and you will not have to repay any monies back. If you leave the course after more than two weeks then you’ll be liable to repay the loan payments that have been made to the college on your behalf, for the time you have been on the course.
Please note you will also be required to pay the remainder of your full course fees directly to the college.
Paying back your Advance Learner Loan
You pay back your loan (plus interest) when you have finished your course and start earning more than £25,725 a year. If your income drops below this amount your repayment will stop. Each month you pay back 9% of any income over £25,725.
See the table below for examples of what you will repay:
|Income before tax||Monthly salary before tax||Monthly loan repayment|
Any loan remaining 30 years after you were due to start making repayments will be wiped.If you stop working, or your income falls back below £25,725, your repayments will stop and only start again when your income is more than £25,725 a year.
Does the loan accrue any interest?
Yes, the following table gives details on the interest accrued on the loan
|While you’re studying and until the April after you leave the course||Rate of inflation (Retail Price Index) plus 3%|
|£25,725 or less||Rate of inflation|
|£25,725 to £45,000||Rate of inflation plus up to 3%|
|£45,000 and over||Rate of inflation plus 3%|
Access to Higher Education (HE)
If you get a loan to cover tuition fees for an Access to HE course (e.g. a course that will prepare you for Higher Education) and then successfully complete a higher education course, you will not have to repay the remaining loan for the Access course.