If you’re aged 19 or over and are thinking about further education or training in England, you might qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. It’s easy to apply for and you won’t have to pay anything back until you’re earning over £26,575 a year.
Please read the government guidance around student finance during the COVID-19 outbreak on the GOV.UK site.
What are Advanced Learner Loans?
Advanced Learner Loans are to help adult learners manage the costs of further education and training in England.
These loans cover tuition fees for a range of Level 3 to Level 6 courses including:
- general and vocational qualifications
- Access to Higher Education diplomas.
Advanced Learner Loans are only available if you’re studying at a training provider or college in England, although you can live in other parts of the UK.
To read more and follow a link to apply online, visit GOV.UK.
How much can I get?
The amount of tuition fees support you’re eligible for depends on:
- the course you want to study
- the fees charged by your college or training provider
- maximum limits for your loan, which depend on the type of course.
The minimum loan you can take out is £300.
The Student Loans Company pay your loan directly to your college or training provider throughout your study.
Number of loans you can get
You can apply for up to four loans.
You can get more than one at the same time if you and your training provider(s) agree you’re ready to take more than one course at the same time.
There are no restrictions due to your previous level of attainment but you can only receive one loan for an Access to Higher Education diploma or a programme of A-levels.
You can apply for a loan to fund each course you take towards your A-levels, up to a maximum of four A-levels.
This would only count as one of your four loans.
Find out whether you’re eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan on GOV.UK.
Can I apply for an Advanced Learner Loan?
Getting a loan doesn’t depend on your income and is not subject to credit checks.
There are certain criteria you must meet to be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan.
- You must be at an approved college or training provider in England.
- You should be aged 19 or older on the first day of your approved course.
- You must currently live in the UK and have been living in the UK three years before starting your course.
- You must be a UK citizen or have a ‘settled status’. This means there are no limits on how long you can stay in the UK.
- You are enrolled on an eligible Level 3 to 6 qualification. Ask your college or training provider to find out whether your qualification is eligible.
- You can only apply before or during your course, you cannot apply after you leave or finish the course.
You might also qualify if you aren’t a resident in the UK, but are a serving member of the UK armed forces or their spouse, civil partner or a dependent parent living with them.
The qualification being studied for and the provider must both be eligible for loan funding. Your provider will have the details necessary to apply.
Assess your financial situation before committing
Before applying, think about how you’ll repay your Advanced Learner Loan.
This is important as no affordability assessment will be carried out.
It’s up to you to work out what you can afford to borrow.
Think about what would happen if your income dropped or your living costs went up. If your income drops you may temporarily be taken out of automatic repayment but continue to be able to make voluntary repayments.
Remember: Interest will be added to the loan from the day you get it, so bear in mind that the amount you repay will be greater than the initial loan.
How will I pay back the loan?
You don’t have to pay any of your loan back until you’ve started earning over £26,575 a year.
If you leave or change course after two weeks or more, you’ll have to pay back any money that was paid to your college or training provider.
You can choose to pay off some or all of your loan at any given time with no extra charge.
Any outstanding balance is automatically written off 30 years after your scheduled qualification end date.
Example of repayment amounts
Payments will depend on the amount you earn over the repayment threshold during any given pay period, not the amount that you’ve borrowed.
Your pay period depends on when you receive your salary. This could be every week, every four weeks or a calendar month. Payments will stop if you earn below the repayment threshold for that pay period.
Repayments are set at 9% of your income above the minimum of £26,575 a year, £2,214 a month or £511 a week.
Interest on your repayments
You’ll be charged interest at the Retail Price Index (RPI) + 3% while you complete your course and until the following April after leaving your course.
After that interest is linked to your earnings.
So if you earn:
- less than £26,575, the interest is set at the RPI
- £26,575 to £47,835, the interest is set at RPI + up to 3% on a sliding scale
- over £47,835, the interest is set at RPI + 3%.
Where to find more information
Apply for an Advanced Learner Loan
To read more and to apply online, visit GOV.UKopens in new window.
Speak to your prospective or current training provider or college in England, to find out whether you’re eligible to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.
It’s worth checking whether there are any non-repayable bursaries or grants available to help with the extra costs of further education and training courses.
If you get a loan, you might be able to get support from the Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund direct from your provider for costs associated with your course, such as childcare and travel.
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