If you are aged 19 or over, you could now qualify for a new type of loan to help pay for your tuition fees as you prepare for your next step up the career ladder.
If you are under the age of 19 you are entitled to free tuition and you will not have any exam fees. For most people between the age of 19 and 23 your tuition and exam fees will also be free - depending on your previous qualifications and financial circumstances.
One option for people 19 or over who do have to pay course fees is to take out an Advanced Learner Loan. The loans are easy to apply for, your household income and employment status are not taken into account and there are no credit checks.
Loans can be used to pay for academic, vocational, technical and professional qualifications at Levels 3, 4, 5 and 6. This includes A Levels and Access to Higher Education courses.
Loans work in a similar way to the current higher education student loans systems. You will apply for the loan via the Student Loans Company and the payment will then be made directly to the College. Provided your loan is approved before you enrol there will be no upfront cost to you. You take the loan out at the start of your course but you will only start repaying the April after your course has finished and when your earnings reach £21,000.
For all eligible courses, the loan will be for up to 100% of the cost of your training, including course and material fees. The minimum value of loan you can apply for is £300.
You can have a maximum of four Advanced Learner Loans, only one of which can be for an Access to HE course. For A levels you can apply for a loan to fund each course you take towards you’re a levels up to a maximum of 4 A levels. This means you can have up to 8 loans at once if you are taking A level as 2 separate courses. The courses must be in the same subject to qualify for a full A level in this respect
No – it is ‘one course, one loan’. You will apply for a single loan to cover the whole length of your course so you don’t need to reapply each year.
You will need to have an interview with a member of Derby College staff for the course to which you are applying. At that point, you will be given details of how to apply online via Student Finance England.
You will not have to repay until after you have completed your course and until your gross earnings reach £21,000 or more. The repayments will be deducted automatically from your earnings through the tax system – starting the April after you have completed your course and not before April 2018. Repayments will be fixed at 9% of your salary above the £21,000 threshold, no matter what the loan balance is. So, if you earn £25,000 a year, your loan repayments would be around £360 a year or £30 a month. Repayments are linked to your earnings rather than your loan amount: regardless of how much you owe, the payments will be the same. Interest is charged from the date you start your course at rates between the Retail Price Index (RPI) and RPI + 3% dependent on your level of earnings and stage of your loan. This interest will be added to the original value of your loan and will continue to accrue until you have either paid off the total value you owe or the loan is written off. (Write-off occurs 30 years after you make your first loan repayment if the loan is not already repaid).
If you decide not to finish your course you will still need to repay the loan provided for the number of months you were on your course.
Don’t worry if you do not have an approved loan in place when you enrol/start your course. We can help you apply and in the meantime a 20% deposit and completed direct debit form will secure you place on the course. Then as soon as your loan is approved we will return your deposit and cancel the direct debit.
There is additional support for those taking Access courses designed to help adult learners progress into higher education. If you take out an Advanced Learner Loan to pay fees for an Access to Higher Education course, the Student Loans Company will write off the amount outstanding on the loan once you complete your higher education course. There is also a national bursary fund to help individuals with learning difficulties or disabilities, parents who need help with childcare, and ex-military personnel.
The Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund may help you meet the associated costs of coming to College, such as childcare and travel. You will need to meet the funding eligibility criteria and have a loan approved by the Student Loans Company.
Find further information on Advanced Learner Loan at:
or contact our Learner Support Fund Team:
Phone: 0800 028 0289
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Having completed her Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at the College, Hayat Habona is looking forward to embarking on a Product Design degree at De Montfort University.
Hayat considered other colleges in the East Midlands but liked Derby best, especially as the tutors put her at ease during her interview. She particularly praises the helpful, friendly and supportive learningenvironment.
I’m very grateful to have received the Advanced Learner Loan. It has helped me a lot. Without it, I simply wouldn’t have been able to take the foundation course and pursue a career in eco-friendly design solutions.