Advanced Learner Loans

What is an Advanced Learner Loan?

Are you aged 19–23 and already have a Level 3 qualification? Aged 24 or over and thinking about studying a Level 3 qualification or above?

Advanced Learner Loans have been introduced by the UK government for learners aged 19 and over studying at Level 3 or above. These courses give you the skills and knowledge you need to develop professionally. They increase your potential, give you the qualifications to progress at work and improve your chances of getting the job that you want.

Is this a good way to fund my course?

You don’t have to take out a Advanced Learner Loan if you would prefer to fund the course through a different route. However, its availability means you can improve your knowledge and skills without needing to pay the fees upfront.

Does applying for a loan involve a credit check?

No. There is no credit check or upper age limit and it doesn’t matter what your household income is, you could still get a loan. Your credit rating will not be taken into account and it won’t affect your credit rating either.

When will I pay my loan back?

The repayments won’t be taken until you start earning more than £21,000 a year.

Does how much I borrow affect my repayments?

The repayments are always worked out in the same way. It doesn’t make any difference whether you borrowed £300 or £10,000, you follow the 9% rule.

So if you earn £22,000 for instance – that is, £1,000 more than £21,000 – then you pay back 9% of £1,000 per year.

9% of £1,000 = £90 a year = £7.50 per month

In this example your repayments will stay at £7.50 a month until you have paid your loan off, unless your income changes.

Examples of repayments based on the 9% rule described previously:


Annual Income (before tax)


Up to £21,000

£0 a month


£7.50 a month


£30 a month


£67.50 a month

*NB: You pay interest on your loan from the first payment until it is paid off in full – visit for further details. Repayments are calculated on the basis that you pay back what you can reasonably afford, not on the basis of how much you have borrowed.

What happens if I can’t repay the entire loan?

Any loan balances that remain after 30 yearswill be written off.

To qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan you must be:

• Aged 19-23 and already have a Level 3 qualification OR aged 24 or over on the first day of your course (there is no upper age limit).

• Living in the UK on the first day of the course and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years before the start date of your course.

• Enrolling on an eligible Level 3-6 course i.e. Access to HE Diploma, other certificates and diplomas, but not HNDs and HNC.

Check for more information on loans for other HE courses.

The Facts

You will not have to payback your loan until you are earning £21,000 or more a year.

If you take out an Advanced Learner Loan to study an Access to Higher Education Diploma the loan will be written off once you complete your subsequent HE course.

If your income falls below £21,000 due to career break or unemployment for example, your loan repayments will stop automatically and will only start again when you start earning over £21,000.

The minimum loan amount is £300.

The loan covers tuition fees but not living expense. Remember there may be other grants available for these, so talk to us if you need help.

The loan application is an easy process with no means testing or credit checks. Once the loan application has been approved there is nothing more you need to do to pay your course fees as we do everything for you.

Your next steps

Identify the course you want to study by looking in our Adult Course Guide or in course search.

Apply to the College for a place on your chosen course, attend an interview and receive an offer from us confirming your place. You will also receive a Learning and Funding Information letter which will contain all the relevant information you will need when you make your loan application.

Apply to Student Finance England for your Loan. You can apply, from May 2016, online or download an application: and search Advanced Learner Loans for more information.

Student Finance England will let you know in two weeks if your application has been successfully (paper applications may take slightly longer).

Bring your loan acceptance letter with you when you come to enrol at the College.

Student Finance England will make course payments on your behalf to the College.


Further information and advice

Visit for more information or call the Advanced Learner Loan helpline on 0300 100 0619

Impartial financial advice can be found at:

Please note your loan agreement will be with Student Finance England

To find out more, speak to Student Services Tel: 01642 333606/333607 or Email:

Please note: These links are external and Middlesbrough College is not responsible for the content.