Adult Learner Loans

Aged 19 or over and thinking about further education?


You may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan. These loans help you to pay the fees charged by colleges and training organisations. Most learners aged 19 and over, studying at Level 3 to 6, will qualify for these loans from the UK government. It’s easy to apply, your household income isn’t taken into account and there’s no credit check. You won’t have to pay anything back until your income is over £21,000 a year.


Who qualifies?


To qualify you must be:


  • aged 19 or over (24 or over if your course begins before 1 August 2016) on the first day of your course (there’s no upper age limit)
  • living in the UK on the first day of your course and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years immediately before this unless you meet one of the exceptions detailed in the ‘Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Learners’
  • studying with a college or training organisation in England approved for public funding
  • enrolling on an eligible course at Level 3 to 6 which includes A levels, Access to HE Diplomas and other Vocational Qualifications.


How’s the loan paid?


Student Finance England will pay your agreed loan to your college or training organisation once they’ve confirmed you’ve registered on your course.


How many loans can you get?


You can have up to a maximum of four Advanced Learner Loans in total.




Repaying your Advanced Learner Loan is straightforward


  • your monthly repayments will be based on your income, not what you borrowed
  • you’ll only start making repayments when your income is more than £404 per week, £1,750 per month or £21,000 per year
  • you’ll only pay back 9% of any income above £21,000 a year, see the table below for examples of what you’ll repay:


Income each year before tax

Monthly salary

Monthly repayment

Up to £21,000



















So, if you’re paid monthly and earn £2,500 before tax you would repay 9% of the difference between what you earn and what the individual threshold is: £2,500 - £1,750 = £750 9% of £750 = £67.50


Your loan repayment would be £67 in that month. If your income drops or rises, for example if you receive a bonus, your repayment amount will automatically change to reflect this.


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


  • If you’re self-employed you’ll be responsible for making loan repayments as part of your annual self-assessment tax return
  • If you’re employed, you don’t need to do anything. Your employer will take your repayments directly off your salary as they do with tax and national insurance contributions
  • If your income falls below £21,000 a year, your repayments will stop and will only restart once your income is more than £21,000 a year again
  • You’ll be due to start repaying your loan in the April after you leave or finish your course – whichever comes first. You can make voluntary repayments at any time.
  • Any loan remaining 30 years after you’re due to start making repayments will be written off.




Some of the interest on your loan will be based on inflation (Retail Price Index (RPI)). The table below shows how interest is calculated:



Interest rate

While you’re studying and until the April after you finish or leave your course

Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3%

From the April after you finish or leave your course

Interest will be based on your income.

  • £21,000 or less – RPI
  • £21,001 to £41,000 – RPI plus up to 3%, depending on income
  • £41,000 and over – RPI plus 3%