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24+ Advanced Learning Loans are being introduced to help support students aged 24 or above with the cost of tuition for Level 3 or 4 courses. Find out below about what the loan covers, who can apply and the benefits they offer...
Who qualifies for the loan?
The 24+ Advanced Learning Loan is not means-tested and does not require a credit check, but to be eligible for a loan you must be:
Aged 24 or over on the first day of your courseStarting your course on or after 1 August 2014
Ordinarily a resident in the UK/EU/EEA for at least three years before the start date of your course
Enrolling on a full Level 3 or Level 4 course (details below).
What can I use the loan for?
The loan is designed to pay for part of or the full cost of the tuition fee for your full Level 3 or 4 course – the loan cannot be used to pay for individual units or awards. Qualifications that you can use the loan for include:
A-Levels (up to three)Access to Higher Education Diplomas
BTEC and other Diplomas and Certificates
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)
Note: Apprenticeships are no longer supported by 24+ Advanced Learning Loans
How much can I borrow?
The amount you can get depends on the course you want to take and whether you want to pay for any of the tuition fee yourself – you can choose a loan that pays for the full cost of your course or you can choose to pay all or part of the tuition fee yourself. There is a minimum loan amount of £300.
How does the loan work?
The 24+ Advanced Learning Loan is similar to existing loans for higher education – after applying to the government organisation Student Finance England (SFE), they will pay the agreed amount to Westminster College when you start your course. You only need to apply once per course, so if for example your course is longer than one year you don’t need to apply separately for each year.
Can I take out more than one loan?
You can apply for up to four loans in total, but you can only have one loan at a time – after completing each qualification you will be able to apply again, up to a maximum of four times.
What happens about repayments?
Paying back your loan is simple – you’ll only have to start making repayments in the April after you complete your course and only if you’re earning over £404 per week, £1,750 per month or £21,000 per year. Payments are automatically taken from your earnings through the tax system.
How much will I have to repay?
Repayments will be 9% of your wage above £21,000 per year, £1,750 per month or £404 per week. So if for example you are earning a salary of £25,000 per year, repayments would be calculated as 9% of £4,000, which equals a £30 repayment per month.
If your salary falls below the earning threshold, repayments will stop. If you have not repaid your loan after 30 years the outstanding debt will be written off.
You’ll only need to start repaying the loan from April 2016 after you’ve completed your course and you’re earning more than £21,000 per year.
What about interest charges?
Interest on the loan is linked to inflation and is set at the rate of the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3% when you are studying your course. After completing your course, the interest rate is charged at the rate of the RPI.
From April 2016, the interest rate charges will be based on your income, charged at RPI for incomes of £21,000 or less, RPI plus an increasing percentage up to 3% for incomes of £21,001 to £41,000, and RPI plus 3% for incomes of £41,001 and above.
How do I apply for a loan?
Students can apply for a loan online through Student Finance England. Application forms will be available through the helpline.
Can I take out a loan if I have been declared bankrupt in the past?
Yes, the loan is not dependant on your credit rating.
Can I take out a loan if I had a higher education loan in the past or I am still paying this off?
Yes, so long as you do not have any arrears. If you have arrears, you will need to pay these off first. If you took a student loan out between 1990-1997 you would not have been paying your loan back via HMRC, therefore you would need to be paying this back and have no arrears.
Can I get help with other course related costs?
In addition to the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan there is a means-tested bursary to support students who are on a low income who require support with other costs related to their course (e.g. travel or childcare costs). The bursary does not form part of the loan and is a separate application. For more information about the support offered and eligibility please read the 24+ Learning Loans policy or download an application form.
Progressing to higher education from Access?
Your loan could be written off!
If you are interested in taking one of our Access to Higher Education courses and use a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan to pay for all or part of your tuition fee, you will have any outstanding debt written off if you go on to complete a higher education qualification.
Information for learners
24+ Advanced Learning Loans Learner Contact Information
Support for individuals requiring additional information or guidance during the application process for 24+ Advanced Learning Loans is provided by Student Finance England. This can be accessed by:
calling 0845 24 02 024, Monday to Friday, 8.00am-8.00pm and Saturday to Sunday, 9.00am-4.00pm
post to – 24+ Advanced Learning Loans, PO Box 302, Darlington DL1 9NQ.