The College of West Anglia

Advanced Learner Loan

Are you aged 19 or older* and thinking about further education? With an Advanced Learner Loan, there are no up front costs and you won’t start to pay anything back until you earn at least £21,000 a year

The Advanced Learner Loan helps you to pay the tuition fees charged by colleges and training organisations. Most learners aged 24 or older, and those aged 19 or older who already hold a full level 3 qualification, studying a course at level 3 and above, will qualify for these loans from the UK government.

It’s easy to apply, your household income isn’t taken into account and there’s no credit check. You won’t have to pay anything back until your income is over £21,000 a year. And if the course you are taking is an Access to Higher Education diploma, if you go on to complete a higher education course (e.g. degree) afterwards, you won’t need to pay off the Advanced Learner Loan.

What is the Advanced Learner Loan?

It is a student loan scheme introduced by the government to help students aged 19 and older pay the tuition fees for courses at level 3 and 4.

For courses starting from September 2016, the loans are now also applicable if you are aged 19-23 and taking a course at level 3 or higher and you already hold a full level 3 qualification.

Am I eligible?

To qualify, you must be:
• Aged 24 or older at the start of your course (aged 19 or older, if your course is starting from September 2016 and you already hold a full level 3 qualification, such as A-levels, Access to Higher Education diploma or other diplomas or certificates)
• Living in the UK on the first day of your course
• A UK or EU national and have lived in the EU for the three years preceding the start of the course
• Enrolling on an eligible course at level 3 or 4 (includes A-levels, Access to Higher Education diplomas and other diplomas or certificates)

Check your eligibility online using the government's eligibility checker here.

How do I apply?

All applications are made directly to Student Finance England (SFE) on their website. Once you’ve been offered a place on your course, the college will send you a learning and funding information sheet which you will need to complete an application for a loan.

You will not be able to complete an application without being offered a place on your course or without this information.

If it’s close to the start of your course and you have not yet received a learning and funding information sheet, please contact the student services team on 01553 815271.

- Apply for an Advanced Learning Loan

What does the loan cover?

The Advanced Learning Loan covers the tuition fees (including any exam and essential equipment and material fees) of your course. You can either apply to cover the full tuition fee or a partial amount. These amounts will be listed on your learning and funding information sheet.

If your household income is below £25,000 per annum, you may also be able to get help with the cost of childcare, travel and/or accommodation from our 24+ Bursary Fund (Learner Support Fund).

Is there an upper age limit to apply for the loan?

No, there is no upper age limit.

Does my income or credit history affect my eligibility?

Your income and credit score will not affect your application and will not affect the amount of loan you are entitled to.

How and when do I have to pay back the loan?

You will not be asked to start making repayments until after your course and only if your income is over £21,000 a year. You would then be required to pay 9% of any income you earn over £21,000.

If you are studying an Access to Higher Education qualification and then progress onto and complete a Higher Education degree (either at CWA or elsewhere) you will not be required to pay back the remaining amount of the loan.

I'm not sure what to do and would like financial advice...

Before making a decision it is important you consider your own circumstances and look into all options. You can access free independent financial advice from the Money Advice Service.

Applying for an Advanced Learner Loan

You can apply online for an Advanced Learner Loan here. Learners can complete an on-line application or download an application form for completion.

To complete your application you will need the information provided on your course offer and ‘Learning and Funding information’ letter.

If you are aged 24 or above and are due to study a level 3 course, this will be sent to you in the summer prior to you starting your course.

If you are aged 19-23, you will need to request the letter by completing the form below. Please note that if you are aged 19-23 and you have not already achieved a full level 3 qualification or higher, you may not be required to pay course fees. Please complete the fee calculator here before requesting the ‘Learning and Funding Information’ letter and applying for the loan to ensure that you are not eligible for a reduction of course fees.

If you do not wish to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan and intend to pay the full course fees yourself please contact Student Services on 01553 815271 as the costs vary for each course. Please be aware that different payment options are available.

19-23 ‘Learning and Funding information’ Letter Request

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*The Advanced Learner Loan (previously 24+ Advanced Learning Loan) was previously only available to those aged 24 and above; for courses starting from September 2016, these loans are now also applicable if you are aged 19-23 and taking a course at level 3 or higher and you already hold a full level 3 qualification.