Advanced Learner Loans

Aged 19 or over and thinking about studying? Find out more about Advanced Learner Loans

Advanced Learner Loan

Advanced Learner Loans are changing. For courses at Level 3 or above, starting on or after 1st August 2016, applicants aged 19 or older on the first day of the course may be able to apply.

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Most learners, studying an approved course at level 3 and above, will qualify for these loans. It’s easy to apply, your household income isn't taken into account and there is no credit check. You won’t have to pay anything back until your income is over £21,000 a year.

Find out more here

Making the right choice

It’s important you consider your own circumstances and look into all options for paying for your course before choosing to take out a loan. You can get independent financial advice from the Money Advice Service at

How much can you get?

The amount you will get depends on:

  • the type of course you take
  • how much the fees are for the course
  • the minimum loan you can get is £300.

Which courses are eligible?

Courses at Level 3 or above qualify (such as a Certificate/Diploma or an Advanced or Higher Apprenticeship).  Courses eligible for funding via Advanced Learning Loans are approved by the Skills Funding Agency.  If you are unsure if the course you are looking to study is eligible please call us for further details. View the full list of courses here.


To get a loan you must be:

  • 19 or older on the first day you start your course and the start day of your course must be on or after the 1st August 2016 (there’s no upper age limit)
  • living in the UK on the first day of your course, and have lived in the UK, the Channel islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years immediately before the start date of the course
  • Studying at a College or a training organisation in England approved for public funding.
  • If you are aged 19 - 23 and do not already have a full Level 3 qualification, you will be entitled to receive free tuition and won’t need to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.
  • If you are aged 19 - 23 and already have a full Level 3 qualification, you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.

How many loans can I apply for?

You can apply for more than one Advanced Learning Loan (up to 4 in total), You can also receive a loan for courses of the same level and type (e.g. Level 3 Diploma in Hair and Level 3 Diploma in Barbering). You’ll be able to take out further loans to complete different types or levels of eligible courses.

How and when to apply?

You can apply for a loan from May 2016 for courses starting between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017. You can apply online or download an application form.

Before applying you will require a ‘Learning and Funding Information Letter’ from the college.  If you have already applied to us and been made an offer you can expect to receive your letter from June onwards.

This will have all the information you will need to make a loan application. You can complete your application online or download an application form  Applying online is the quickest method of application, however if you do choose to submit a paper application please ensure you complete all information fully to ensure your application is not unnecessarily delayed.

You will submit your application to Student Finance England who will then process this and inform you and the college of the decision

What you need to know

You will need a National Insurance number before any monies can be paid and should have this available to enter on your loan application form. You need your passport details or another form of identity to apply – e.g. your birth certificate. 

How is the loan paid

Student Finance England (SFE) will pay the loan directly to the College.

What happens if you withdraw from your course?

If you withdraw from your course within 2 weeks of the course start date, the loan will not come into effect and you will not have to repay any monies back. If you leave the course after more than two weeks then you’ll be liable to repay the loan payments that have been made to the College on your behalf, for the time you have been on the course.

Please note you will also be required to pay the remainder of your full course fees directly to the College.

Paying back your loan

You pay back your loan (plus interest) when you have finished your course and start earning more than £21,000 a year. If your income drops below this amount your repayment will stop. Each month you pay back 9% of any income over £21,000.

See the table below for examples of what you will repay:

Income before tax Monthly salary before tax Monthly loan repayment
Up to £21,000 £1750 £0
£22,000 £1833 £7
£25,000 £2083 £30
£30,000 £2500 £67
£35,000 £2917 £105
£40,000 £3333 £142

If you stop working, or your income falls back below £21,000, your repayments will stop and only start again when your income is more than £21,000 a year.

Any loan remaining 30 years after you were due to start making repayments will be wiped. 

Does the loan accrue any interest?

Yes, the following table gives details on the interest accrued on the loan

Income Interest Rate
While you're studying and until the April after you leave the course Rate of inflation (Retail Price Index) plus 3%
£21,000 or less Rate of inflation
£21,000 to £41,000 Rate of inflation plus up to 3%
£41,000 and over Rate of inflation plus 3%

Access to Higher Education (HE)

If you get a loan to cover tuition fees for an Access to HE course (e.g. a course that will prepare you for Higher Education) and then successfully complete a higher education course, you will not have to repay the remaining loan for the Access course.

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