Advanced Learner Loans

Age 19 or above and want to improve your career prospects?

If you will be aged 19 or above at the start of your course and want to gain Level 3 – Level 6 qualifications to help your career, Advanced Learner Loans will help you gain these. You have to be resident in the UK, and Telford College has approved courses you can join. Please note that the loan is not available for Higher Education qualifications such as Foundation Degrees HNC or HND courses. You can get a HE loan for these.

If you are aged 19-23 and studying your first level 3 qualification, please contact Advice & Guidance on 01952 642237 as you may be eligible for a free course.

You may now be eligible for a further loan to complete another course of the same level and type. If you wish to study 2 courses at the same time you may now be able to apply for two loans for both of your courses.

You can apply for up to 4 loans in a lifetime.

The Good Points

  • You don’t have to pay anything at the start of the course as you can apply for an Advanced Learning Loan to cover the cost of your course
  • The course could help you to find a better job or help you progress to university if that is your aim.
  • You won’t repay the loan until you’ve completed your course and are earning £25,000 per year and then you pay a small percentage back – for  example £15 a month if you earned £27,000 a year or £37 a month if you earned £30,000 a year.
  • If you take out a loan for an Access course, then go on to complete your higher education course, you won’t have to repay the Access loan.
  • The loan isn’t means-tested and there are no credit checks
  • There is no upper age limit
  • There may be a bursary fund and you may get help with childcare,
  • travel, books and equipment or support for mature students with learning difficulties or disabilities
  • You can apply once you have your offer from Telford College

What if I take a career break or don’t have a job for a while?

  • If you take a career break or have a period of unemployment, the loan is suspended and only starts again when you earn over £25,000 again.

Are loans ever written off?

  • Yes, outstanding loan balances are written off:
  • After 30 years
  • On death (no family liability)

Access loans are written off when you complete your higher education course

Is interest charged on the loan?

  • Before deciding to take out the loan, Telford College advises you to seek independent financial advice, so that you are sure the loan is right for you. The Money Advice Service is a free and independent financial advice service established by the Government and will be able to provide you with help and advice. Visit their website at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk

How to Apply for Your Loan

  • We are delighted that you have chosen to study a course at Telford College and will be using an Advanced Learner Loan to fund your course fees.

Please follow the steps below to apply for your loan:

  1. After enrolment, you will receive a letter from Jane Brown asking you to make an appointment. Contact Jane Brown on 01952 642465 or  e-mail jane.brown@tcat.ac.uk. Please be sure to bring the information detailed in your letter. We cannot apply for your loan without the correct evidence to verify who you are.
  2. We will apply for your loan online and ask you to sign a declaration form which is your contract with the Student Loans Company.
  3. We will send off the declaration and any other evidence supplied, to the Student Loans Company.
  4. You will receive confirmation that your application has been successful. College will be asked to confirm your attendance at different times, so that we can receive fees for you. College receives fees every month.
  5. It is essential that you apply as soon as possible and reply promptly to any correspondence you may receive from the Student Loans Company.

Student Services advice line is 01952 642465

Help Towards Costs Associated With Coming to College

Once you have been accepted for an Advanced Learner Loan you may be eligible to apply to the College Discretionary Fund for help with the following:

  • Travel expenses
  • Kit and uniform
  • Books
  • Materials
  • Professional fees
  • Exams fees
  • UCAS fees
  • University trips
  • Trips/workshops
  • Childcare fees

You can be enrolled on a full-time or part-time course. Your total household income will be taken into consideration. If you are employed we will take your NET wage into account.

If you think you are eligible, please pick up an application form from Grants in Learner Services or phone 01952 642523 and we will post one to you.

Please ensure, where possible, that you submit your application in plenty of time before you start your course.

For more information please contact Grants on 01952 642523

For Bursary details please email: grants@tcat.ac.uk

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Advanced Learning Loans were introduced by the Government for learners aged 19 and over studying at Level 3 and above from 1 August 2016. In this document we’ve tried to answer questions you might have. If you need more information speak to Jane Brown on 01952 642465 or email jane. brown@tcat.ac.uk.

Eligibility

Am I eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan?

To be eligible for one of these loans you need to be:

  • aged 19 or over at the start of your chosen course
  • resident in the UK
  • undertaking an eligible course at an approved college or training organisation in England

Your college or training organisation will be able to confirm which courses are eligible and if they’re an approved organisation

Does getting a loan depend on my income or credit history?

No. Getting a loan doesn’t depend on your income and credit checks aren’t carried out. Repayment of the loan will depend on your income and won’t begin until your income is over £25,000 a year.

Is there an upper age limit for someone applying for a loan?
No. There’s no upper age limit.

If I’m a European Union (EU) student would I be eligible for a loan?
If you meet the residency criteria you’ll be eligible to apply for a loan.

Which qualifications can I get a loan for?

You’ll need to be doing a qualification that’s an advanced or higher level qualification approved for public funding. These include A Levels, Access to HE Diplomas, other Diplomas and Certificates.

You can get further advice on which qualifications are eligible for loans from your college or training organisation or through the National Careers Service website at www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk or call the helpline on 0800 100 900.

Can I still apply for a loan for a qualification that’s not approved for public funding?

No. Only qualifications approved for public funding are eligible for loans. If you wish to undertake a qualification that’s not eligible for a loan then you would need to agree with the college or training organisation how you would fund the course without access to a loan.

Application Process

When can I apply for a loan?

You can apply for a loan once you have your offer from your College/training organisation.

How do I apply for a loan?

Once you’ve identified the qualification you wish to do you’ll need to contact Advice and Guidance on 01952 642237, to confirm whether there are places available on the course. After you have enrolled, our loans adviser will contact you.

Can I get independent financial advice?

If you’re unsure about taking out a loan and want to seek independent financial advice then you’ll have the opportunity to do so. The Money Advice Service is a free and independent financial advice service established by the Government and will be able to provide you with help and advice. Visit their website at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.

Can I get independent careers advice?

If you’re unsure whether the course you’d like to take is right for you, then you can contact the National Careers Service website at www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk or call the helpline on 0800 100 900 for advice.

What information do I need to provide when applying for a loan?

  • You’ll need to provide a valid National Insurance number in order for the loan to be paid to the college or training organisation on your behalf.
  • You will be required to provide your personal details (name, address, etc) and evidence to confirm your identity.
  • For UK passport holders this will just be your valid UK passport details (not a physical passport).
  • If you’re a UK national but don’t hold a passport, there is only one other acceptable form of evidence to provide – a UK birth certificate. It will be returned to you. You will also be requested to complete a countersignature form.
  • If you’re not a UK national you’ll need to provide physical identity evidence, as well as evidence that you’re a permanent resident inside the UK.

I don’t have a National Insurance number but I want to apply for a loan, what should I do?

A National Insurance number is required in order for the loan to be paid to the college or training organisation on your behalf. If you don’t have a National Insurance number you can still apply for a loan. Student Finance England will contact you if you need to do anything to obtain one. This may mean that you’ll need to arrange an appointment with your local Job Centre to have one assigned to you.

Can I apply for a loan after my course has started?

As long as your course started on or after 1 August 2018. It will be possible to apply for a loan at any time during your course, but not after you’ve completed it.

The College normally expects you to have your loan in place before you start your course however, we understand that this is not always possible.

How long will it take me to hear the outcome of a loan application?

Applications submitted online that don’t require any further supporting evidence (because you’ve provided your valid UK passport details) should be processed within 4-5 days.

All other applications should be processed within 2-4 weeks. The exact timing will be dependent on you providing correct application data and the relevant original identity evidence at the time of application.

If my course lasts for more than one year do I need to reapply each year?

No. Your loan application will last for the duration of the course, even when that course lasts for more than one year.

What happens if I change my mind before I start my course?

If you decide, before the start of your course, you no longer want to undertake your course or you don’t want to take out a loan for the course then you can simply contact Student Finance England. Student Finance England will be able to cancel your loan application, and you won’t have any loan to repay. You will need to contact your College/training organisation to inform them of the change.

What happens if I change my mind once I’ve started my course?

No loan payments will be made to your college or training organisation on your behalf until you’ve attended the course for at least 2 weeks. If you leave the course after more than 2 weeks then you’ll be liable to repay the loan payments made on your behalf, which will be based on the length of time you attended the course.

Fees

How much loan can I take out?

There’s a maximum amount of loan available to you based on the type of qualification you’re doing and your college or training organisation will be able to advise you of this amount.

The fee charged by the college or training organisations may be less than the maximum loan amount available; therefore you’d only need to take out a loan to cover the fee being charged.

You can take out a loan for the maximum amount to cover your tuition fee or you can pay all or part of the tuition fee yourself.

Will I have to repay the full loan amount if I leave part way through the course?

No. Your loan will be paid to your college or training organisation in line with your attendance on the course. When you stop attending, payments will stop and you’ll only be liable to repay the amount (including any interest accrued on that amount) that’s already been paid to the college or training organisation.

If I leave my course part of the way through will I be required to pay the remainder of the fee to my college or training organisation even if my loan payments have stopped?

Before you enrol on the course you’ll need to enter into an agreement with your college or training organisation. This agreement should include the tuition fee they’re charging you and what you’ll be required to pay if you don’t complete the course.

How much of the course costs will the loan cover?

It’s expected the loans would cover the tuition fee charged by the college or training organisations in connection with your course. You’ll need to agree with the college or training organisation upfront, all of the costs associated with the course and confirm the loan will be able to cover these costs.

Can I get additional support to help with childcare and travel?

The Advanced Learning Loan only covers the tuition fee you’re being charged by the college or training organisation for your course. However, it’s possible the college or training organisation will be able to provide financial support for course related costs for those facing financial hardship. Your college or training organisation will be able to provide you with more information on the help and support they can make available to you.

Loans

Will I be able to get a loan if I’ve already achieved a similar qualification (i.e. I already have A Levels)?

Yes. Previous qualifications you’ve achieved won’t affect your ability to take out one of these loans.

Can I cover a course of A levels with one loan?

Yes. A single loan can cover a programme of A levels which can include a combination of AS levels, A2 levels and full A levels – up to four at the same time.

What happens if I change my mind about the course and want to do something different?

It’ll depend on how much of the course you’ve undertaken. If you’ve done less than two weeks you can simply cancel the loan and this will not count against the total number of loans available to you. If you’ve undertaken more than two weeks then the loan will count as one of your four.

However, there’s flexibility to allow for a single repeat of the same type of course where you did not complete the original. You’d still be required to repay the original loan but you could take out another loan.

Before making this decision you should speak to your college or training organisation, as it may be possible to transfer to the new course under the same loan rather than having to apply for a new one.

What happens if I’m unable to complete my course and I’m forced to withdraw?

Where there are compelling personal reasons preventing you from completing your course this won’t count as one of your four loans. You’ll still be expected to repay any loan paid in connection with the course

Repayments

How will I pay back the loan?

Repayments will be automatically deducted from your earnings through the tax system once you’ve left the course and your income is more than £25,000 a year.

When will repayments start?

Repayments will start from the April after you finish or leave your course.

You can make voluntary repayments at any time in order to pay off your loan more quickly.

How much will the repayment be?

Repayments will be made at 9 per cent of your income over the threshold of £25,000.

The repayments are based purely on income, not on the amount borrowed or number of loans. So regardless of how much you owe the repayments will be the same.

If your income falls below £25,000, repayments will stop and only re-start when your income increases to more than £25,000.

What happens if I have more than one student loan?

You will make a single payment and deduction at 9 per cent of your income over the threshold, regardless of how large or how many student loans you have, including HE and Advanced Learning Loans.

Can I make voluntary repayments?

Yes. You can make voluntary repayments at any time to pay off your loans more quickly.

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

You’ll only ever have to make repayments in line with your income if you earn more than £25,000. If you’ve any loan balances remaining after 30 years these will be written off.

What if I declare bankruptcy?

Loans are excluded from your bankruptcy debts, so that during and upon discharge from bankruptcy you remain liable to repay this loan.

What happens when I retire?

You will probably not be required to make any loan repayment, however, this will depend on individual circumstances.

Please contact Advanced Learner Loans on:

0300 100 0619