People who are aged 24 or over and want to study at Levels 3 and 4 or for Advanced and Higher Level Apprenticeships, can now apply for a loan to pay for their course.
24+ Advanced Learning Loans will operate on the same basis as higher education loans, with no repayment until the student has finished their course and is earning above £21,000.
Existing grant funding arrangements will continue to apply to anyone aged under 24 or studying at Level 2 or below.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said:
“These loans will help thousands of people to meet up front course fees, taking away one of the main barriers to learning.
“With students and employers investing more in skills, they will rightly demand the very best from their course or Apprenticeship, helping to ensure that standards are high across the spectrum of provision.”
The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and Student Loans Company (SLC) have worked closely with the further education sector as the loans system has been developed and implemented. The SLC is administering the loans, which are now available to people wanting to start a course from August 2013 onwards.
Kim Thorneywork, Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency said:
“24+ Advanced Learning Loans will provide great opportunities for those over 24, to gain qualifications that provide access to better jobs and future careers. For the first time this will give learners in further education access to financial support for course costs very similar to the support available for higher education courses.
“Individuals who are better qualified experience benefits, including increased wages. Learners can apply for a loan now for courses starting in August and, as with tuition fees for degrees the loan does not have to be paid back until earnings are over £21,000 a year.
“The Agency has been working with more than 800 colleges and training organisations to ensure they are ready to offer 24+ Advanced Learning Loans as part of their core training and skills offer to learners. The National Careers Service is equipped to provide learners with all the information they need.”
Mick Laverty, Chief Executive of the Student Loans Company, said:
“I am delighted that SLC is one of the partners delivering the 24+ Advanced Learning Loans and helping learners invest in their futures. We’ve worked closely with our customers and colleagues throughout the FE sector to design a digital service that is customer focused and straightforward to use.
“Together with BIS, the Skills Funding Agency and HMRC, we look forward to implementing the digital delivery of this new loan for a wide range of learners.”
The application form and more information on 24+ Advanced Learning Loans can be found at www.gov.uk/advancedlearningloans
Source: Student Loan Company