Advanced Learner Loans

Low-interest tuition fee loans are available to help adults pay for full and part-time further education qualifications.
These Advanced Learner Loans are available to people aged 19 and over who are studying for qualifications at level three and four, including advanced and higher apprenticeships.
They work in the same way as higher education student loans, with low interest and reasonable repayment terms, and they are administered by the same organisation, Student Finance England.

Some key points:

  • Repayments will only start once you have finished the qualification and are earning more than £25,725
  • Repayments are at 9 per cent of income above £25,725 – irrespective of the amount of loan taken out
  • Outstanding loan balances are written off after 30 years
  • People who progress from an Access course and then complete a higher education programme can have their Access course fees written off

HE Loans repayment table

For more information, including terms and conditions, and to make an application, go to www.gov.uk/advanced-learning-loans

Alternatively, contact us to request a chat with a guidance officer.

Please note: Learners are responsible for paying fees if a loan application is not approved.

The college also has a limited bursary fund to support learners who are in receipt of a Advanced Learning Loan. 
 

Frequently Asked Questions 

About the Loan  

Is this a bank loan?  

No, it is a loan issued by the Student Loan Company on behalf of the Government. 

Do I have to take out a loan?  

No, the choice is yours. You can personally pay for your course in full. Alternatively, you may want to talk to your employer as they may be prepared to pay for some or all of your course fees. 

I’d prefer not to have a loan, what are my options?  

You can pay for your course in full or by instalments/Direct Debits. You do not have to have a loan to apply for a course. 

If my course lasts for more than one year do I need to reapply each year?  

No. Your loan application will cover the full length of your course. However, if you are successful in your first year and wish to progress to the second year to top up to an extended diploma, then we ask that you contact the Loans Company to request the additional loan amount. 

Can I change my mind once I’ve started my course?  

Yes. Loan repayments will only be made to us once you’ve been on a course for two weeks. After two weeks, you become liable for loan repayments made on your behalf, and these will be based on the length of time you attended the course. 

What happens if I don’t successfully complete my course?  

You will still be required to pay back your loan if you are earning over £26,575. 

Can the loan cover childcare and travel?  

No, but in certain circumstances we may be able to provide some additional help through a college advanced learner loan bursary application form. 

 

Applying for a Loan  

If my course lasts for more than one year do I need to reapply each year?  

No. Your loan application will cover the full length of your course. However, if you are successful in your first year and wish to progress to the second year to top up to an extended diploma, then we ask that you contact the Loans Company to request the additional loan amount. 

Can I apply for a loan after my course has started?  

Yes, providing you haven’t completed your course. Please talk to us if you find yourself in this position, as it will change the way you are paying for your course. 

How long will it take me to hear the outcome of a loan application?  

We understand that online applications should be processed in 4-5 working days if they contain all the required information. All other applications should normally be processed within 2-4 weeks. However, it is critical that you apply as soon as you have been offered a place on your chosen course.  

What course fees do I have to pay?  

This is dependent on what course you decide to do with us. Information on fees for your course will be explained through an Information Loans Letter which will be sent to you by the Admissions department when you have been successful. 

Why do I need sight of the Information Loans letter? 

This letter contains important key information you will need when completing your application form on line 

How many loans can I have?  

You can access up to a maximum of four loans. If you start a course and find that you are unable to complete it, you will be able to apply for a loan for the same course if you start it again within a year. You will however be liable for any loan costs incurred. If you're applying for an Access to HE course, you will only be able to apply for one loan. 

Is this the right loan for me?  

You’ll need to consider whether it’s the best thing for you in your circumstances. You may wish to seek independent financial advice, for example from the Money Advice Service at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk. 

 

Eligibility  

What is an Advanced Learner Loan?  

This is a scheme that has been introduced by the Government. It’s a loan for learners who are aged 19 and over and covers the cost of course. 

What courses are eligible?  

Advanced Learner Loans are available when you are studying for eligible Level 3, Level 4, Level 5 or Level 6 courses. We’ve provided some more information on qualifications, but include Certificates, BTEC Extended Diplomas, Access to HE, A Levels and Advanced or Higher Apprenticeships. 

Need more information? Don't hesitate to get in touch with us. 

How do I pay for a course that isn’t eligible for a loan?  

Please talk to us and we can discuss your finance options. 

Am I eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan?  

You can apply if you are a UK resident aged 19 or over at the start of an eligible course. 

Am I eligible if I study an Apprenticeship?  

Yes. So long as you are personally eligible and studying for a qualifying level of Apprenticeship you can apply for a loan. You can take out a loan to cover the maximum amount to cover your course fees, or you can pay all or part of the fees yourself. 

Is there an upper age for someone to apply for a loan?  

No, there’s no upper age limit. 

 

Repaying the Loan  

How will I pay back the loan?  

Repayments will be automatically deducted from your earnings through the tax system once you’ve left the course and your income is more than £26,575 

 

What is the pay back process if I am doing an Access course? 

If you complete the Access course and progress onto a Higher Education (HE) course, and complete the HE program the fees for the access course will be waived.  You will only be repaying the HE course fees.  If you do not complete both the Access course and the HE program, you will be expected to repay the fees for both courses but only when your earnings are more than £26,575 a year. 

When will repayments start?  

Repayments will start from the April following your course and only when your income is more than £26,575 a year. 

There’s no need to repay your loan until then. You can however make voluntary repayments at any time in order to pay off your loan more quickly. 

Please explain how the £26,575 salary level works.  

In order to repay the loan you have to be earning over £26,575 if you earn under this you do not have to make repayments. When your income is more than £26,575 a year you will pay back your loan through your salary. 

What happens if my earnings fall below £26,575? 

You will stop making repayments. 

How much would the repayments be?  

Repayments will be made at 9 per cent of your income over the threshold above £26,575. If your income falls below £26,575, repayments will stop and only re-start when your income increases to more than £26,575. 

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 £46,305, the interest is set at RPI + up to 3% on a sliding scale 

over £46,305, the interest is set at RPI + 3% 

When do I need to repay the loan by?  

You have up to 30 years to repay the loan. If you’ve any loan balances remaining after 30 years they will be written off. 

How much will I pay each month?  

This depends on how much you earn over £26,575. The payment is taken from your salary through a scheme called Pay as You Earn (PAYE). The average payment is 9% of income above the £26,575 threshold. 

Can I pay off the balance outstanding on my loan at any time?  

Yes, you can do this by contacting the Student Loans Company direct who will accept any additional payments. 

What happens to my loan if I die?  

The outstanding loan balance will be written off. 

If I am undertaking an Apprenticeship and my employer makes me redundant, would I still be required to repay the loan?  

Yes. You’ll be expected to repay any loan payments (including accrued interest) made on your behalf to the college or training organisation during your course, but repayment would only occur when your income reaches the threshold of £26,575 

What happens if I retire and still have a loan?  

Loan repayments aren’t taken from Pension Income. You will therefore only make repayments if you have other taxable income that is above £26,575pa. 

How much interest will I be charged on the loan?  

Final details are still to be confirmed by the Government, however we believe that interest will be charged at the Retail Price Index (RPI) +3 per cent during the period of study, and up until the April after you leave the course. From this point interest is linked to earnings and will be: 

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 £46,305, the interest is set at RPI + up to 3% on a sliding scale 
  • over £46,305, the interest is set at RPI + 3%. 

What is RPI, and what happens if it changes?  

The Retail Price Index, RPI, is a measure of UK inflation. It measures changes to the cost of living in the UK. The UK government uses the rate of RPI for many purposes, including setting the interest rate charged on student loans.