Reports research findings on the government’s proposal for adults aged 24 and above, who study for qualifications at level 3 and above, to make greater contributions to the costs of their learning.
The government proposes to remove grant funding for these further education learners and courses. This will allow the government to focus investment on younger and lower-qualified learners who are less likely to invest in themselves. Instead, the government will provide income-contingent loans to cover the resulting upfront costs, in line with its principles of promoting fairness and personal responsibility. These 24+ Advanced Learning Loans will be made available to new learners from the 2013 to 2014 academic year, with the first full year expected to be the 2014/15 academic year.
BIS carried out an impact assessment to show the economic costs and benefits of this proposal, and an equality impact assessment to look at how the proposal will affect different types of learners. This report explores these assessments, and looks at how learners are likely to respond to the 24+ Advanced Learning Loans proposal, and how its impact on their decisions and behaviours could be minimised.
This research provides a greater understanding of four specific learner groups:
- those aged 40+, and particularly those out of work
- those with mental or physical disabilities or learning difficulties have particular needs regarding communication and information.
- those seeking to take up Advanced/Higher Apprentices
- Muslim learners
This research indicated that most learner groups are unlikely to be put off by the loans proposition, provided it is communicated effectively. It also highlighted groups which are likely to face specific issues and challenges.