- Loan

24 Plus Advanced Learning Loans

In 2013 the UK Government introduced a new loan for people aged 24 or over to either retrain for a new career or to improve their existing career prospects. Heralded as the 24 Plus Advanced Learning Loan people seeking to re-enter education can now apply for financial assistance paying for qualifications across the UK starting in August.

In light of the Chancellor’s budget that was broadcast to millions of viewers on the 20th March 2013 the new loans look like they could be great news both for industry, the unemployed and the economy. With approximately 2.52 million (Office for National Statistics, March 2013) out of work in the UK, these loans seem like they could be a realistic way to retrain, fill skills gaps and get people back in to work.

24 Plus Advanced Learning Loans have been introduced to ensure everyone has the opportunity to study by providing a loan to cover course tuition fees. Potential students have to apply for the loan themselves however they will find that the institution running the course will be available to offer support throughout the process.

People who qualify for the loan don’t have to pay anything up front for course fees, or even pay anything back until April 2016 or until they are earning over £21,000 a year. The government have even gone one step further by using the loan to progress students through a level 4 qualification right through to the student achieving a degree.

An example of this is the national Access to Higher Education course that you can find at any Further Education college in the country. Basically if a student was to take out a 24 Plus Advanced Learning Loan and complete this qualification and then progress on to complete a Higher Education/University Level programme, they will not have to pay back the Further Education loan at all.

This is a bit of a double edged sword but for those people who are really motivated to improving themselves it’s realistic and achievable. As it stands, although you wouldn’t have to pay back the initial loan you would have to take out a further student loan to pay the tuition on the degree level course. With the average degree taking three years to complete learners could end up with a debt that sits anywhere between £18,000 and £27,000.

Key facts about the 24 Plus Advanced Learning Loan repayments:

  • Repayment will only start once you have finished your qualification and are earning more than £21,000 per year
  • Repayment of loans is through the tax system; first repayments commence in April 2016 in line with changes to HE repayments
  • Interest will be charged at the Retail Price Index RPI+3% during the period of study, and until the April after you leave the course
  • From the April after you finish the course repayments are at 9% of income above £21,000 – irrespective of the amount of loan taken out
  • Interest rates are variable based on income up to maximum of RPI+3% for incomes above £41,000
  • Outstanding loan balances will be written off after 30 years

These repayments will be linked to earnings rather than the loan amount, so regardless of how much a student owes, the payments will be the same. If annual earnings fall below £21,000 repayments will stop and only re-start when earnings increase to more than £21,000 a year.

So if you are a UK resident aged 24 or over there is now a viable way for you to re-enter education and get back to chasing your dreams. Maybe you want to own a bigger house, have more children or want a second home by the sea. By retraining and gaining new skills with the 24 Plus Advanced Learning Loan there is absolutely no reason why you can’t take hold of your future prospects and give your career a boost.