SFE administers the Advanced Learner Loan for students aged 19 and older. Access to this financial support can help to fund your college or training course costs.
This section explains how the funding for advanced learner loans works in England, the application process, and how to make the repayments.
This type of student finance is available on approved qualifications (levels 3 to level 6) at one of the approved providers in England.
Advanced learner loans are not means tested and you do not need to undertake any credit checks to meet the eligibility criteria.
As a result, you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan no matter what your employment status is - or how much you are earning.
Note: The availability of financial help for adult learners, and procedures for claiming it, differ when studying in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.
The rules for repaying your student loan depend on which of the three plans you are on. But, repayments would need to start when your income goes over the 'threshold' amount.
Despite that, Student Finance England (SFE) will start charging interest on an Advanced Learner Loan from the day you receive the first payment.
As a rule, SFE would cancel (write off) any outstanding balance of an Advanced Learner Loan owed for an Access to Higher Education course once you complete it.
Therefore, providing the higher education course qualifies for undergraduate student finance, you would not need to pay it back.
The Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund can help you pay for certain expenses associated with studying. So for example, you might get money towards the cost of childcare or course materials (further details below).
Note: The Money Advice Service explains more on how to work out the true cost of borrowing and the total cost of repaying the debt.
The minimum amount you can borrow is £300 but you do not receive the payment. The money would go directly to the college or the training provider.
Even so, the total amount learners can get from this kind of loan would depend on several factors, including:
There is no requirement to borrow the full cost of the course. So, you can choose whether to pay some of the fees yourself.
The maximum number of loans you can apply for is four (4) if your course started before the 1st of August 2016. But, you would not get all the learner loans all together at the same time.
Also, you cannot make an application for an additional loan if it is for the same level of a course. So for example, the same level qualification in Italian if you already received a loan for the same level in French.
In case you were wondering:
You would be able to apply for up to four (4) loans - and get more than one at the same time - providing your course started since the 1st of August 2016.
The rules now allow you to apply for an additional loan to take the same level of a course. So for example, taking the same level qualification in Mathematics if you already received a loan for the same level in History.
Note: They will allow only one loan application if it will be for an Access to Higher Education (HE) course.
Learner loans can fund each course taken towards A Levels (up to a maximum of four A Levels). Hence, taking each A Level as two separate courses (in the same subject) would mean you can have up to eight (8) loans.
You can get three (3) extra loans for non A Level courses either before or after the course of A Levels.
Note: Student Finance England produce a PDF guide to the terms and conditions of Advanced Learner Loans.
Besides your age and nationality (residence status), qualification for an Advanced Learner Loan will also depend on the course and the college or training provider.
Eligibility would depend on you being at least 24 years old on the first day of the course, which must be:
Eligibility would depend on you being at least 19 years old on the first day of the course, which must be:
Note: Another section explains more about what qualification levels mean or you can check with your college or training provider.
As a general rule, all these must apply to your circumstances:
You may also meet the criteria for qualification if you are:
You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan even if you do not have a NI number. But if not, you would need to apply for a National Insurance number before they will pay out the loan.
Nonetheless, you must have your 'learning and funding information letter' before making an application.
It is best for UK nationals to include their UK passport details in the application as proof of identity. You can also send your birth or adoption certificate you do not have a UK passport (or it has expired). Thus, use the 'Birth or adoption certificate form' for this purpose.
You would need to send your EU passport or identity card for the first application if you are from one of the other European Union countries.
The 'Evidence return form' is for anyone who needs to send extra information to support their application (e.g. proof of residency status).
After getting approval for an Advanced Learner Loan, you may also apply to get additional funding from the Loan Bursary Fund. You can use money from the Loan Bursary Fund to pay for certain expenses, such as:
Different types of colleges and training providers have their own criteria for awarding student financing. They tend to take individual circumstances into consideration before granting any payments.
Note: Talk to student services department for more information about what evidence you may need to supply.
As a rule, the college or training provider pays the money direct to the student. But, you can also ask them to make the payments to someone else instead (e.g. a childcare provider or a landlord).
Important: This kind of funding may need repaying, such as when experiencing a temporary financial difficulty.
But, you would not be able to apply if you are:
Note: You should contact your college or training provider if you want to appeal a decision given to you from the Loan Bursary Fund.
Advanced Learner Loan Application process in United Kingdom