Policy

Improving the quality of further education and skills training

Supporting detail:

Funding system for further education: 24+ advanced learning loans

We’re bringing in a new type of student loan for learners aged 24 and over - the 24+ advanced learning loan.

24+ advanced learning loans will apply to learners starting their course or apprenticeship from 1 August 2013.

Who’s eligible?

Learners will be able to apply for the new loans if they’re in further education or training (level 3, level 4, and advanced and higher apprenticeships). They’ll replace government grants for this group.

What about repayment?

The loans will come from the Student Loan Company and be for course costs only. Repayments won’t start before the learner is earning more than £21,000 a year, and will be 9% of any earnings over £21,000.

That means that if (for example) someone is earning £22,000, they’ll pay back 9% of £1,000 - £90 a year.

Interest rates will reflect market rates and be linked to inflation. All loans will be written off after 30 years.

What if the learner goes on to higher education (HE)?

If a learner takes out a 24+ advanced learning loan and later gets a loan for higher education, the two loan repayments will be rolled into one. There’ll only be one monthly repayment.

If a learner takes out a loan for an Access to HE diploma course and goes onto HE, the 24+ advanced learning loan will be written off once the HE course has been completed.

Extra help for learners

We’ve introduced extra help for learners aged 24 and over. This includes:

  • more advice and guidance to support people considering learning
  • more money - £50 million to help learners with costs such as childcare

John Hayes, Minister for Further Education, made a statement about this extra help on 12 July 2012.

Background

In 2010, we set out how we thought the FE and skills learning system would need to reform. In December 2011 we published New challenges, new chances. This set out how we intended to support FE and the skills learning system for learners aged 19+ in England.

Research

We surveyed a cross-section of learners. 74% of people we spoke to said they’d consider doing a course after the new loans came in.

Attitudes to further education loans also tells us that overall, people were positive about the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan’s terms and conditions.

Impact assessments

We’ve run a number of impact assessments to see how our proposals will affect FE and FE learners:

Monthly briefings

We’ve published a regular briefing on our progress with the changes since April 2012. For the latest updates, see 24+ Advanced Loans monthly briefings. Earlier briefings are listed below:

Find out more

You can find out more about 24+ advanced learning loans from the Skills Funding Agency and the Student Loans Company.

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