Aged 19 or over and thinking about further education at Kingston Maurward College? You may qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan.
Advanced Learner Loans help those aged 19 and over to cover the cost of the fees for courses that are level 3 and above – these courses can include A Levels, BTEC diplomas, Advanced or Higher Apprenticeships, access to higher education courses and QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework) certificates.
(If you are applying for your first level 3 course (equivalent to A Level) and you are aged between 19 and 23, then your course is FREE.)
To qualify for an Advanced Learner Loan you must:
– be aged 19+ at the start of your course
– be a resident in the UK
– have not previously had a loan to do the same course subject and level
– be studying a course at level 3 or above (including QCF Certificates and Diplomas, Access to Higher Education).
You will only be able to apply for a loan to meet the upfront costs of your qualification, which will be paid directly to the College.
The loans are not means tested or credit checked so if you meet the criteria you will be able to apply for a loan whether you are employed or unemployed.
You don’t pay anything upfront for your course fees and if you’re not earning over £21,000, you won’t have to pay anything back (certain criteria apply).
If your loan is to cover the fees for an Access to Higher Education course and you progress to complete a university-level (higher education) course, you will not have to pay back your Advanced Learner Loan.
When you have a confirmed place on a course, you can apply online for your loan at https://www.gov.uk/advanced-learning-loans; this link also has more information on the Advanced Learner Loans scheme – including information on the amounts available and the collection of repayments.
25 year old Nathan Lidgett from Dorchester took advantage of the Advanced Learner Loan in order to help him study towards his Level 3 Diploma in Animal Management, and subsequently lead him on to the Foundation Degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare.
Nathan said: “I want a career in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and to achieve this I needed to study the Level 3 diploma in order to get on to the Foundation Degree course, and as it was a career direction change for me the Advanced Learner Loan was ideal as I only need to start paying it back when I earn enough, and the payment plan is really reasonable.”
Nathan completed his Level 3 Diploma last summer and is now studying towards his Foundation Degree at Kingston Maurward with plans to study the top up to full Honours Degree to achieve his dream job in conservation.
As part of this he will travel to Peru in June for a four week conservation placement in rainforest and lake habitats working with caiman and crocodiles. The £2000 trip – for which he must raise sponsorship – is essential to give Nathan the valuable knowledge and experience to follow his dream into a career in conservation.
He said: “I’d like to work with exotic animals, understanding their habitats, what’s threatening them with our lifestyle today, what threats exotic animals are facing today, what I can do myself with the knowledge I’ve got from Kingston Maurward College to try and preserve the species. I’m dreaming big, but I’ve got a set route now and I plan to achieve it!”
Nathan’s determination has given him access to his perfect career as he didn’t know what to do when he left school and now has full focus on his future. He says he views the loan payments in future the same as a ‘phone bill’, as it is a manageable monthly payment and a necessary investment into his future.
He said: “I would advise those eligible to take the loan as it’s an excellent way to start education again now I’ve decided which direction I want to go in. Not all school leavers know what they want to do so this gives you the opportunity to start again and follow new horizons.”
To take advantage of this facility anyone interested should check with the training provider that the course qualifies for the loan; and ask for a ‘Learning and Funding Information’ letter – this is required in order to complete the application and contains the details about the course.
Kingston Maurward’s Students Admissions team offer a full advice service to those interested in the Advanced Learner Loan and can be contacted on 01305 215215.
For further information go to: http://www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/media/568945/sfe_24_loans_factsheet.pdf
Source: FE Week, National Careers Service, gov.uk