If you’re aged 19 or over, live in England and are thinking about further education or training, 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 £25,000 a year.
What are Advanced Learner Loans?
The government introduced Advanced Learner Loans 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 for study at a training provider or college in England.
Previously these loans were known as 24+ Advanced Leaner Loans, but due to the age at which you’re eligible changing, the name was changed. So, if you couldn’t get a loan previously because you were too young, now you might be able to.
To read more and follow a link to apply online, visit GOV.UK.
How much can I get?
The amount 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. Loans are paid directly to your college or training provider.
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.
You can only apply once 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.
To be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan, you must be:
- At an approved college or training provider in England.
- Aged 19 or older on the first day of your approved course.
- Currently living in the UK and have been living in the UK three years before starting your course.
- A UK citizen or have a ‘settled status’. This means there are no limits on how long you can stay in the UK.
- Enrolled on a Level 3 to 6 qualification. Ask your college or training provider to find out whether your course is eligible.
For qualifications starting on or after 1 August 2017, 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.
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.
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 £25,000 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
Monthly repayments are based on how much you earn, not the amount that you’ve borrowed.
Repayments are set at 9% of your income above the minimum of £25,000 a year.
Interest on your repayments
You’ll be charged interest at the Retail Price Index (RPI) + 3% while you complete your course and for one month after you leave your college or training provider.
After that interest is linked to your earnings.
So if you earn:
- Less than £25,000, the interest is set at the RPI.
- £25,000 to £45,000, the interest is set at RPI + up to 3% on a sliding scale.
- Over £45,000, the interest is set at RPI + 3%.
If you’re self-employed, repayments are made through your Self Assessment Tax Return.
Where to find more information
Apply for an Advanced Learner Loan
To read more and to apply online, visit GOV.UK.
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.
Please Note: If you are aged 19-23, without a first Full Level 3, do not need a loan, and you may have an entitlement under AEB to be fully funded for a Level 3 or above.
If you get a loan, you might be able to get support from the Advanced Learner Loans Bursary Fund.
Applying for A Learner Loan – The Process
- Check with your college or training provider that the course qualifies.
- Ask them for a ‘Learning and funding information’ letter – you need this to complete the application. It contains the details about your course.
- Apply online– you’ll need to register first. You can apply by post if you cannot apply online. Have a look at the application form here.
- You’ll get a letter confirming your loan – usually within 2 weeks if you apply online (postal applications take longer).
- You cannot apply until you get a ‘learning and funding information letter’ from your college or training provider.
- You can apply for a loan without a National Insurance number but you must have one before the loan can be paid.
- Proof of identity – Include your UK passport details in your application as proof of identity. If you forget, use the ‘UK passport details form’. If you do not have a UK passport (or it has expired), send your birth or adoption certificate using the ‘Birth or adoption certificate form’.