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Advanced Learner Loans


Did you know that if you are 19 or over and applying to study at level 3 or above, you could be eligible for a student loan?

Student loans have traditionally only been available to students studying at degree level, but from September 2013 the government is launching a new loan scheme to help people access the financial support they might need to study for their qualification. Students do not have to start paying back their loan until they have left the course and are earning over £21,000 a year.


Do I qualify for a loan?

To qualify for a loan you must:

  • Be aged 19 or over at the start of your course
  • Be resident in the UK and studying at an approved college or training organisation in England
  • Have not previously had a loan to do the same qualification type and level of qualification

How do I know my course is eligible for funding?

Eligible courses include:

  • A Levels (provided you are studying four or less)
  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Level 3 Certificate or Diploma
  • Level 4 Certificate or Diploma

How long will my application take?

The majority of applications submitted online should take four to five days. Other applications will be processed within two to four weeks.

When do I have to start paying back the loan?

You do not have to pay back the loan until your course has finished and you are earning over £21,000.

If you receive a loan to study for an Access to HE course, and then move on to do a HE course, the amount outstanding on your loan for your access course will be written off once you complete your HE qualification.

How do I pay back the loan?

If you're an employee your employer will work out your repayments and take them out of your salary with your tax.

If you're self employed you make repayments as part of your Self Assessment Tax Return.

You can pay some or all of your loan at any time without an extra charge.

Will I be able to afford the loan?

Research shows that people with a Level 3 qualification or above earn more than those who are not similarly qualified.

Repayments will be made at 9% of annual earnings over £21,000. This means that if you earn £22,000 a year you will have to pay back £7 a month. If you are earning £25,000 your repayments will be £30 a month.

If your earnings drop below £21,000 payments will stop.

Interest on your loan will be based on inflation (Retail Price Index - RPI).

How much will the loan be for?

For all eligible courses (except Apprenticeships) the loan will be up to 100% of the cost of the training including course and material fees. This could be from £300 upwards depending on the individual course.

You don't have to borrow the full cost of your course - you can pay for some of it yourself.

Do I need to apply for a loan for each year I am studying?

No. You will only have to apply for one loan to cover the whole length of your course – you don't have to reapply each year. "One course: one loan".

How is the loan paid?

The money will be paid directly to the College once we confirm that you have attended the course for 2 weeks.

Can I apply for more than one loan?

Yes, but only after you finish your course - you can only get one loan at a time and you can't apply for another loan to repeat the same level of a course.

You can apply for up to four loans in total.

What if I leave the course or want to change course?

If you leave or change your course after 2 weeks you'll have to pay back any money that's been paid to the College. The interest rate will be the rate of inflation.

If you want to change your course, speak to Customer Services to see if the loan can be transferred.

How do I apply?

You can currently apply online for courses starting between 1 August 2014 and 31 July 2015, visit

Please note, to apply you will need your National Insurance Number and a form of identity eg passport or birth certificate. You will also need a conditional place offer from the College on the course you want to apply for the loan for.

For more information, call the Advanced Learner Loan Helpline 0845 240 2024.

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Related Links

Advanced learner loan application and information for adult learners in further education 1 blue
download course guides adult and 16 18 year olds for great courses to study at Richmond upon Thames College 12 blue

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