Advanced Learner Loans

  • If you are aged 19+ it is likely that you will be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan
  • Pay for your course via a government backed loan available via the student loans company
  • Pay it back via your wage slip when you earn over £524 a week, £2,274 a month or £27,295 a year
  • Progress in your chosen career!

 

Advanced Learner Loans are available via government approved providers who hold contracts with the ESFA.

Learners are able to purchase an eligible programme via the Advanced Learner Loan issued by the Students Loan Company.

Learners pay the cost of the course back via their wage slip once they earn over £524 a week, £2,274 a month or £27,295 a year.

Learners can access up to 4 Advanced Learner Loans which can be accessed simultaneously.

Advanced Learner Loans are widely accessible. If you are:

  • Aged 19+ it is highly likely you will be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan

You can check your eligibility here

In order to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan you must first contact CMS.

A CMS representative will then inform you of your options and provide any information, advice and guidance to ensure you make the right decision for you.

Once you are satisfied that the Advanced Learner Loan is the right approach for you, you will be asked to complete an online application form. When your online form is received a course tutor will arrange to discuss the course content, structure and expectations of the programme with you.

If you are still satisfied, then you will be provided with a Learning and Funding Information Letter.  This letter will provide you with all the information you need to apply for the Advanced Learner Loan.

You can then apply for your Advanced Learner Loan online.

 

You will be required to repay any Advanced Learner Loan once you earn over £524 a week, £2,274 a month or £27,295 a year. Voluntary repayments can be made.

What you’ll repay

Repayments are based on your income, not on what you borrow or the number of student loans you have. This is known as an ‘income contingent’ repayment.

You’ll repay 9% of your income over £27,295 a year. For example, if you’re paid monthly and earn £2,500 before tax you’d repay 9% of the difference between
what you earn and what the threshold is:

£2,500 – £2,274 = £226
9% of £226 = £20.34
So your student loan repayment would be £20 in that month.

If your income changes, your repayment amounts will automatically change to reflect this.

Learners are charged interest from the day the first payment is made. Repayments commence from the April after a learner leaves programme.

Further information on Advanced Learner Loan repayments can be found here:

  1. Gov.uk Repaying your student loan
  2. Advanced Learner Loan Term and Conditions

Frequently Asked Questions

First, it is worth noting that many of the Personal Training qualification course providers in the UK are unable to offer Advanced Learner Loans.

To be able to offer Advanced Learner Loans, a training provider must first be contracted with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) through the Department for Education (DofE).

Holding an Advanced Learner Loan contract with the ESFA is an indication that the provider has a strong track record in delivering either Apprenticeships or the Adult Education Budget (AEB). As a result, they have been able awarded an Advanced Learner Loan contract. See our latest Ofsted report.

This is why not all providers are able to offer an Advanced Learner Loan as a potential funding route.

Is the qualification you achieve the same? 

Yes, it is, however, training providers offering the Advanced Learner Loans funding route are regulated and audited by both the ESFA and Ofsted.

Failure to maintain a high standard of delivery and learning support could result in the Advanced Learning Loan contract being removed from the provider.

Advanced Learner Loan programmes require learners to remain engaged with learning monthly. If a learner disengages then the provider is required to suspend the learner and attempt to re-engage them. All government funding training programmes also require the integration of extra training where appropriate in topics such as English, maths, safeguarding, career guidance and many other topics to help to encourage personal development.

Providers who only offer self-funded training are not subject to the same scrutiny from external organisations such as the ESFA and Ofsted. This can result in cheaper course fees but significantly less to no support once you are signed up and enrolled.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you fund your programme yourself or via an Advanced Learner Loan. Enrolling with a training provider holding an Advanced Learner Loans contract, with a favourable Ofsted report affords you additional assurances that the delivery and support received will be of a good standard.

You will have to earn more than £27,295 per year to start repaying your debt automatically.

Until this threshold is passed on a prorated monthly basis no repayment will be taken from your wage slip.

You are still able to make voluntary repayments whenever you like.

Your Advanced Learner Loan will not be paid to your institution or training organisation until you’ve been confirmed as in attendance on your course for at least two weeks.

If you quit the course after more than two weeks, you will be responsible for any Advanced Learner Loan payments made based on the amount of time you were there.

If you stop going to class, your Advanced Learner Loan payments stop as well but please inform your training provider via email if you wish to withdraw.

Your Advanced Learner Loan will be automatically repaid via deductions from your wage slip once you earn over £27,295 per year. These deductions are taken before tax and is automated by the HMRC.

If you never earn over £27,295 per year then you will never make a repayment and the Advanced Learner Loan is cancelled after 30 years. The Advanced Learner Loan will accrue interest in this time.

There is no credit check or upper age limit, and you could still acquire another loan regardless of your household income.

You will not be required to make repayments if you are not making any money. The payment arrangements are based on a salary of £27,295 per year (or the equivalent). You don’t have to pay anything until then.

Any remaining balance will be wiped off if you do not repay the Advanced Learner Loan within 30 years.

The Advanced Learner Loan does not show up on your credit report, which is what banks look at when approving mortgages. As a result, the Advanced Learner Loan will have no bearing on that decision.

Advanced Learner Loans are confirmed within 2 weeks of application normally. Your provider may allow you to start your studies while you are waiting for confirmation of approval.

Living expenses are not covered by the Advanced Learner Loan. Consider the Advanced Learner Loan for education and benefits for living essentials.

However, if you study/train for more than 16 hours a week, you should speak with your Jobcentre Advisor because taking a course could affect your benefits.

Yes. Your previous qualifications will have no bearing on your ability to obtain an Advanced Learner Loan. You won’t be allowed to take out another Advanced Learner Loan to do the same type of course at the same level if you’ve received an Advanced Learner Loan to do a course. Additional Advanced Learner Loans will be available to help you complete additional types or levels of approved courses. There is no obligation to advance through the levels of qualification.

Learners are normally limited to four Advanced Learner Loans. The only exception is if they’re studying for an AS or A level, in which case they can apply for up to 8 Advanced Learner Loans, plus a further three for courses that aren’t AS/A Levels.

No. They are available to anyone aged 19+ on the first day of their programme.

On behalf of a person, advanced learner loans are paid directly to the institution or training organisation. They are neither means tested or subject to credit checks, and anyone who satisfies the criteria, regardless of their present work position, can apply for a Advanced Learner Loan.

It will be determined by how much of the course you have completed. If you have not attended your programme for more than two weeks, you may simply cancel it and it won’t count against your total number of Advanced Learner Loans.

The training provider will validate your attendance after two weeks on a course, and you will be responsible for any Advanced Learner Loan payments paid to your training provider up until the time you leave programme.

You don’t have to worry about your credit score or your age, and your household income doesn’t matter. You can still get an Advanced Learner Loan.

Use this eligibility checker

If you’d rather pay for your course in a different way, you don’t have to get an Advanced Learner Loan. The Advanced Learner Loan lets you pay for your course up front in a way that is manageable, but there are other ways to do it.

If you are between 19 and 23 years old and taking your first full Level 3 course, you might be able to get a grant to help pay for it. You can pay for your Level 3 qualification with a grant or an Advanced Learner Loan, but if you choose an Advanced Learner Loan, you won’t be able to get a grant.

You could also pay for your course fees with savings or an alternative loan from somewhere else. Depending on your situation, you need to decide if it’s the right choice for you.

You should think about all your options before taking out an Advanced Learner Loan. The Money Advice Service at moneyadviceservice.org.uk can give you impartial advice on how to handle your money.

The amount you have to pay back is based on how much you earn, not how much you borrowed. You only have to pay back money if you make over £27,295 a year. hen you pay 9% of the money you earn over £27,295, before tax.

For example:

If you make £30,000, that’s £2,705 more than the £27,295. So each year, you pay back 9% of the £2,705. 9% of £2,705 is £243.45 per year, or £20.29 per month.

The way the payments are made is always the same. If you make £30,000 a year, it doesn’t matter if you borrowed £500 or £10,000. You’ll still only have to pay back £20.29 a month until your Advanced Learner Loan is paid off, unless your income changes.

The amount you pay back on an Advanced Learner Loan is based on how much you can afford to pay back, not on how much you borrowed.

Payments will be taken automatically by HMRC via your employer’s payroll payments either weekly or monthly, depending on your employer’s salary payment schedule.

A wage of £27,295 per year is £524.90 per week. Let’s say you worked overtime one week and got paid extra, bringing your total earnings before taxes to £724.9 per week. That’s £200 over the weekly limit so you would pay back 9% of that £200 (£18). The same applies if you earn more than £2,274.58 per month.

As soon as you start making payments to your college or training organisation, interest will start to be added to the Advanced Learner Loan. The interest rate will be 3% plus RPI until April of the year after you finish your course.

This interest is on the Advanced Learner Loan itself, not on what you pay back each month. Automatic repayments are fixed at 9% of your earnings above £27,295.

After you finish your course, the amount of interest you pay will depend on how much money you make. The interest on your Advanced Learner Loan may change but the rate of automatic repayment stays the same.

Example

If you make less than £27,296 a year, your Advanced Learner Loan interest will be RPI.

If you make between £27,296 and £49,130 a year, your Advanced Learner Loan interest will be RPI + 3% or less depending on income.

£49,130 and over – Normally RPI plus 3%

What is RPI?

Retail Price Index is what RPI stands for. It’s a way to figure out inflation, which is the change in the prices of everyday goods and services. So, if inflation was 4%, a shopping basket that cost £100 this year would cost £104 next year. The value of your Advanced Learner Loan will go up or down at the same rate as the prices of goods and services.

You won’t have to start paying back until April of the year after you finish your course and once you’re making more than £27,295 a year.

You won’t have to start paying back until April of the year after you finish your course and once you’re making more than £27,295 a year.  Some people might choose to do this because interest is added to the Advanced Learner Loan as soon as payments start to your college or training organisation. If you pay off your Advanced Learner Loan early, you will pay it off faster and minimise the interest accrued.

When you’ve paid off your Advanced Learner Loan, you won’t have to make any more payments. But since repayments are calculated after the end of the tax year, you could end up paying more than you need to. Some people who are close to paying off their Advanced Learner Loan may choose to make direct payments to avoid this.

If you overpay, the money will be given back to you. It’s like getting a tax refund when you pay too much income tax.

Your college or training centre won’t get any money from your Advanced Learner Loan until you’ve been going there for more than two weeks. If you leave your course after more than two weeks, you’ll have to pay back any Advanced Learner Loan payments you’ve made based on how long you were there. Once you stop attending, the Advanced Learner Loan payments will stop.

Instead of your employer taking your repayments out of your income tax, you will make repayments based on your self-assessment tax return. It’s the same way the government figures out how much tax and National Insurance you have to pay. And you still only have to pay back the Advanced Learner Loan if your income for the tax year is more than £27,295.

Even if you move out of the country, you still have to pay back your Advanced Learner Loan. While you are outside of the UK, repayments will be taken care of. Only the way payments are worked out is different. Price level indices for the country you moved to will determine this (their version of the RPI). You will have to pay a set amount each month.

If you don’t have any income, you won’t have to pay back your Advanced Learner Loan. The payment terms depend on you earning £27,295 a year (or the equivalent). You don’t pay anything until then. And if you haven’t paid the Advanced Learner Loan back within 30 years, any remaining amount will be written off.

The Advanced Learner Loan only pays for course costs. It doesn’t cover other costs that learners may have, like rent or food. There is a bursary fund that colleges and training organisations use to help students who are at risk, such as those with learning difficulties or disabilities, parents who need help taking care of their children, and former members of the military.