Advanced Learner loans
If you are 19 years of age or over and are thinking of starting a college course, at level 3 or above, you may qualify for one of the government’s new Advanced Learner Loans to help fund your studies.
It is easy to apply for a loan, there is no credit check and your household income isn’t taken into account; and what’s more, you won’t have to pay anything back until you earn over £21,000 a year.
Who can apply for a loan?
To apply for a loan you must be:
- 19 years of age or over at the start of your course (there’s no upper age limit)
- enrolling onto a level 3, 4, 5 or 6 course (some exceptions apply)
- living in the UK on the first day of your course and have been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for the three years previous to this. You may also qualify if you’re an EU national or a family member of one, a refugee, a migrant worker, the child of a Swiss national or the child of a Turkish worker
- The loans are not means tested, there are no credit checks and you will be able to apply for a loan regardless of your employment status
- You will not have to pay anything back until you’re earning over £21,000
- Your loan will cover the course fees (or part of), and will be paid directly to the College
- The minimum amount you can borrow is £300
- You can apply for up to four loans, but you can only have one loan at a time. You must not have previously had a loan to do the same course subject at the same level.
Repayments and interest charges
You will start paying back your loan (plus interest) in the April (but not before April 2016) after you have completed the course, providing you are earning over £21,000 per year (£404 per week / £1750 per month).
You can choose to apply to fund the course in full with a loan or by alternative funding (i.e. from an employer or personal investment).
If you are employed, your employer can make voluntary payments for part or the whole of the loan amount on your behalf. It is the responsibility of employers and employees to make individual agreements about loan repayment. We would encourage employers to take their own independent advice on how the tax rules apply to them and their employees in these circumstances; and any consequences of potential payments that they may make on behalf of their employees.
If you are an employee, your repayments will be taken automatically from your salary with your tax. If you are self employed you will make repayments as part of your Self Assessment tax return. If your income drops below this amount your repayments will stop.
Each month you will pay back 9% of any income over £21,000, repayment examples can be found below:
|Annual income before tax||Repayment amount|
|Up to £21,000||£0|
|£22,000||£7 per month|
|£25,000||£30 per month|
|£30,000||£67 per month|
|£35,000||£105 per month|
|£40,000||£142 per month|
You can choose to pay some, or all, of your loan at any time without an extra charge.
You will pay interest on your loan from your first payment until the loan is paid back in full at the rate below:
|While you’re studying and until the April after you leave the course||Rate of inflation (Retail Price Index) plus 3%|
|£21,000 or less||Rate of inflation|
|£21,000 to £41,000||Rate of inflation plus up to 3%|
|£41,000 and over||Rate of inflation plus 3%|
How to find out more
Further details can be found on www.direct.gov.uk
Before you take out a loan you may wish to contact the Money Advice Service for free, unbiased money advice. It is important that, before you commit to a loan, you assess your borrowing needs, including any debts you may already have. You will also find some free online money tools and calculators on their site which may be helpful to you.
How to apply for a loan
If you wish to apply for an advanced learner loan you will need to contact our administration team to check your eligibility, they will then provide you with a letter detailing the amount of loan you can claim and provide you with a course reference number. You can then apply online on the Gov.uk website.
Student Loans Company helpline: 0300 100 0619
Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund
If you are over 19 years of age and in receipt of an Advanced Learning Loan and find yourself in financial hardship you can apply to The College of Animal Welfare Advanced Learning Loans Bursary Fund (funded by the Government) for financial assistance.
Applications can be made for support in the following areas:
- Hardship situations
- Providing additional support with your learning
- Making necessary adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 e.g. Getting or changing equipment
- ex-military personnel