Since August 2013, funding for level 3 qualifications for all learners aged 24 and over have been in the form of advanced learning loans. Funding will no longer be limited to apprenticeships for learners in this age group. They will be able to finance their level 3 qualifications without having to study employment rights and functional maths, English and ICT. Advanced learning loans attract a low rate of interest. Repayments are not required at all until the learner completes his/her study and learner’s salary is more than £21,000 pa.
In this brief guide, based in part on the Skills Funding Agency’s Funding Rules 2013/14 and on material provided by Student Finance England (SFE), we try to answer your questions on the new funding system.
Am I eligible for a 24+-Advanced Learning Loan?
To be eligible for one of these loans you need to be: • aged 24 or over at the start of your training • resident in the UK • undertaking an eligible qualification.
What is an eligible qualification?
• QCF Certificates at levels 3 and 4
• QCF Diplomas at levels 3 and 4
• Advanced (level 3) Apprenticeship frameworks
• Higher (levels 4 and 5) Apprenticeship frameworks
Awards at level 3 and above, and individual units of qualifications, are not eligible for funding through a Loan.
Is there an age limit for someone applying for a loan?
The minimum age is 24 (below this age, most training is government funded). There is no upper age limit.
I’m a European Union student. Am I eligible for a loan?
Provided you meet the residency criteria, you’ll be eligible to apply for a loan.
How much can I apply for?
You can apply for any amount from £300 up to the full fee for the qualification. The Skills Funding Agency sets a maximum figure for each qualification.
Is this the best value loan I can get?
You’ll need to consider whether it’s the best thing for you in your circumstances. You may wish to seek independent financial advice, for example from the Money Advice Service. You can contact them at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
Contact us for more information.