Furhter Education - Further Development of Loans: Expanding and Simplifying the Program

Published: Jun 2014

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

In line with the principles of fairness and shared responsibility, public funding is prioritised for younger learners and those with lower skills. Advanced Learning Loans were introduced in April 2013 to enable individuals to make positive decisions about how to invest in intermediate and higher skills. They are available to people aged 24 and over studying at level 3 and level 4, and originally included Advanced and Higher apprenticeships. With the exception of apprenticeship, which were removed from the loans system in March 2014 and are not covered by this consultation document, the introduction of Advances Learning Loans has been a success. By the end of March 2014 there had been 64,700 applications, which represents 81% of the 80,000 loans that the authors hoped would be received this financial year and is more than the forecast take-up for non-apprenticeship courses.

The central proposal is to expand the scope of loans in the Further Education sector to cover 19-23 year olds and to make loans available for level 2 qualifications where learners are not entitled to full grant funding. The authors are looking for feedback on whether this is a change that would be welcomed, and whether there would be any unintended consequences associated with this expansion, before final decisions are taken.