Guidance

Advanced learner loans: an overview

Information for colleges, training organisations and employers about advanced learner loans.

Applies to England

Overview

Advanced learner loans are available for individuals aged 19 or above to undertake approved qualifications at levels 3 to level 6, at an approved provider in England. Advanced learner loans give individuals access to financial support for tuition costs similar to that available in higher education and are administered by Student Finance England.

The availability of loans at level 3 for 19 to 23 year olds does not replace an individual’s legal entitlement for full funding for a first full level 3 qualification.

If you want to apply for a loan or find out what it means for you, see our quick guide on advanced learner loans.

Advanced learner loans are paid directly to the college or training organisation on behalf of an individual.

They are not means tested or subject to credit checks and any individual who meets the criteria will be able to apply for a loan regardless of their current employment status.

Becoming an approved loans provider

To become an approved provider, colleges and training organisations must be in receipt of an advanced learner loans facility agreement with the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Advanced learner loans facility agreements are only issued following formal selection processes. The Education and Skills Funding Agency uses its weekly Update newsletter to advertise new opportunities for providers to express an interest in having a loan facility, as and when such opportunities arise.

Funding rules for advanced learner loans

The rules apply to all providers of education and training who hold a loans facility and loans bursary fund agreement with the ESFA. This agreement allows providers to receive loans payments from the Student Loans Company (SLC) on behalf of learners and loans bursary payments from ESFA.

Colleges and training organisations should issue a funding information letter as part of their discussion with learners when they are considering their funding options. The template contains all the data information required by a learner to complete an advanced learner loan application.

Qualifications available for an advanced learner loan

The full list of designated qualifications available for an advanced learner loan is in the learning aims section of the Find a Learning Aim Service and the ESFA list of qualifications approved for public funding.

We set out the policy and process for designating qualifications for advanced learner loans in the advanced learner loans prospectus. Awarding organisations can notify us of qualifications eligible to be included in the advanced learner loans offer using the form provided.

The maximum loan amounts for advanced learner loans designated qualifications 2021 to 2022 describes the methodology for establishing maximum loan amounts for designated qualifications and confirms what the maximum loan amounts are for all designated qualifications.

If you have a complaint

For details on how to complain about the delivery of education and training funded by a loan please refer to the ESFA’s published complaints procedure.

Published 28 August 2015
Last updated 29 July 2020 + show all updates
  1. We have updated the advanced learner loans funding rules for 2020 to 2021 to include details of the offer available to young people as part of the High value courses for school and college leavers: a one-year offer for 18 and 19-year-olds.

  2. We have added the GOV.UK links for Advanced learner loans funding rules for 2020 to 2021 and the Maximum loan amounts for advanced learner loans designated qualifications for 2020 to 2021.

  3. We've added the link to the advanced learner loans funding rules 2019 to 2020.

  4. Updated the eligibility criteria. Advanced learner loans are now available for individuals aged 19 or above to undertake approved qualifications at Levels 3 to Level 6, at an approved provider in England.

  5. Added information about the updated eligibility criteria for loans for courses starting from 1 August 2016.

  6. Information added about registration for: Policy Expansion Seminars - Advanced Learner Loans 2016.

  7. Updated with name change.

  8. We have published a Provider Support Pack that covers a range of loans-specific areas, including operational delivery requirements.

  9. First published.