Advanced Learner Loan

To qualify for a loan you need to be:

  • Aged 19 or over at the start of the course and not entitled to receive full funding for a first full Level 3 qualification
  • Enrolling on a qualification course at Level 3, 4, 5 or 6. (Including AS or A-levels,  Access to Higher Education Diplomas, vocational and professional Certificates and Diplomas)
  • 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 three years immediately before this*.

*Please note that there are exceptions to this. We advise you to check your eligibility before you apply by calling the Student Loans Company on 0300 100 0619. 


Key facts about loan repayments:

  • Repayment will only start once you have finished your qualification and are earning more than £404 per week, 
  • £1,750 per month or £21,000 per year. Repayments start the April following completion of your course.
  • Repayment of loans is through the tax system
  • Repayments are at 9% of any income you earn above these thresholds – irrespective of the value of the loan taken out
  • Outstanding loan balances will be written off after 30 years.


Example monthly repayment amounts (based on annual income earned before tax):

  • Up to £21,000 - Repay £0
  • £22,000 - Repay £7
  • £25,000 - Repay £30
  • £30,000 - Repay £67
  • £35,000 - Repay £105
  • £40,000 - Repay £142

Interest rates are variable based on income up to a maximum of RPI+3% for incomes above £41,000.

These repayments will be linked to earnings rather than the loan amount, so regardless of how much a student owes, the payments will be the same. If annual earnings fall below £21,000 repayments will stop and only re-start when earnings increase to more than £404 per week, £1750 per month or £21,000 per year.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Does the loan only cover the tuition fees?
Yes, the Advanced Learner Loan is for tuition fees only and the costs and charges for items required to complete the course. 

How much can I take out?
The minimum loan amount you can take out is £300. You can either take the full cost of the tuition fee or you can pay all or part of the fee yourself.

Do I get the money in full?
No. Student Finance England pay the agreed tuition fee direct to the College in equal instalments – the money does not come to you.

Do I have to pay the loan back if I progress onto Higher Education?
If you successfully complete the Access to Higher Education Diploma then progress onto and complete a Higher Education course, the loan taken out for the Access course will not have to be paid back.

Do I have to have a good credit history?
There is no credit testing and your household income is not taken into account.

Where can I get financial advice?
The College is not allowed to provide you with financial advice. You need to consider all options and work out which is best for your own circumstances. Independent financial advice is available from the Money Advice Service.

How do I apply?
You will need to check with the College that the course qualifies for a loan. We will then give you a Learning and Funding information letter in order to apply. This will contain all the information you need, including the amount of tuition fee and the course with its learning aim. You will also need proof of identity (i.e. passport or birth certificate) and a national insurance number. You will then be able to apply online or download an application.

When do I apply for my loan?
As soon as you receive your Learning and Funding information letter you can apply for your loan. Do this as soon as possible to ensure your application is processed before your course starts.  You can apply for the Advanced Learner Loan from 1st May 2017 for courses starting on or after 1st August 2017. If your loan has not been approved by the time the course starts, then it will be your responsibility to pay the fees in full.  If you decide to withdraw from the course you will still be required to pay cancellation charges as detailed in our cancellation and refunds policy.

Where can I find out more about the Advanced Learner Loan?
Further information can be found on the Government Website.