Advanced Learner Loans – the essential info
Advanced Learner Loans are government loans to help you pay for the cost of a course at a college or training provider in England. Your personal circumstances (such as your income) aren’t taken into account, and there are no credit checks.
You will only pay back the loan when your course has finished and you’re earning over £21,000 a year.
Once you are accepted for an Advanced Learner Loan, you can also apply to the Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund. Awards from the Bursary Fund can be used to pay for things like childcare, travel, or trips which are part of your course. Some awards must be paid back later, but others are non-repayable.
What Advanced Learner loans are for
The loan is to pay your course fees. The minimum amount you can get is £300 and it’s paid directly to the college or place where you study. If you want, you can pay part of your course fee yourself and use a loan to pay the remainder. You don’t have to borrow the full amount.
You can have up to four individual loans in one academic year. This would pay for a maximum of four A levels, for example. There is more detailed information on the number of loans you can take out at one time just here.
Who can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan?
Advanced Learner Loans are for adults. If you’re over 19 on the first day of your course, you could be eligible. There are UK residency requirements which state that you need to have been living in the UK for three years before starting your course, although there are exceptions. You can find full details here.
The loans will cover the cost of courses at levels 3, 4, 5, or 6. If you’re not sure about your qualification level, check out our handy guide.
Benefits of Advanced Learner Loans
Advanced Learner Loans are ideal for adults getting back into education. Having one (or several, if you’re taking more than one course at once) means that you don’t have to pay hundreds of pounds upfront – you can put it off until you’re working full time. Payments will only start once you’re earning £21,000 and they will be calculated based on your income, so they will be affordable.
You can get an Advanced Learner Loan even if you are working alongside your studies.
Advanced Learner Loans can help you improve your career prospects or simply gain the education you’ve always wanted. If you go on to complete a degree after an Access to HE diploma, Student Finance England will write off any outstanding Advanced Learner Loan balance that you owe for that course.
How do I apply for an Advanced Learner Loan?
You apply online via Student Finance England. Before filling in your application, don’t forget to check that your course is eligible. You will have to create a free account if you haven’t used the service before.