Advanced Learner Loans

The government-funded Advanced Learner Loan is to help pay tuition fees. It’s available to people over 19 years old, studying courses at Levels 3 to 6.

Courses covered could include A levels and the Access to HE Diploma (Level 3), and vocational or professional qualifications. To find out if the course you want to study is eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan, contact the course provider.

Key facts

  • Applications can be made now through the Student Loans Company.
  • It doesn’t take your household income into account or involve a credit check.
  • Repayments are linked to what you earn and not how much you borrowed.
  • You only have to start making repayments when you’ve finished your course and you’re earning over £25,000 per year. Student Finance England have created a repayment calculator to help you work out how much you'll pay back and when.
  • You should apply for this loan after you have been accepted onto a course by a course provider.

Access to HE Diploma

If you take out an Advanced Learner Loan to fund an Access to HE Diploma, then go on to complete a higher education course, you’ll be eligible to have the balance of your Advanced Learner Loan written off. However, if you don’t complete either course, you won’t be eligible to have the balance written off, and will need to repay your loan in full.

Remember, the Access to HE Diploma will stay with you for life, and is a useful qualification for gaining a place in higher education. It’s therefore really important that if you are offered an unconditional higher education place, you continue to work hard to gain your Access to HE Diploma.

If you complete your Access to HE Diploma and choose to go on to study at university, you will be eligible for a student loan to help towards the cost of your university studies.

Bursary funds

Advanced Learner Loan bursary funds are also available if you have any support needs – for example, if you need help with your learning, or help with childcare or residential costs. These bursaries are available from individual course providers and they set the eligibility criteria you'll have to meet. When you're choosing where you want to study, make sure you ask about the bursary.

Case study: Katrina, Jodie, and Geoff all applied for Advanced Learner Loans to help with the cost of their studies – watch their stories.