ARE YOU AGED 24+? 24+ A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans

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1 24+ ARE YOU AGED 24+? A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans Fees guidance for students aged 24 years old or older and applying to study Level 3 4 qualifications in England.

2 What you need to know If you re planning to do a Level 3 or 4 course at College, you need to know that Government funding guidelines have changed Who is this leaflet for? This leaflet is for you if you re aged 24 years old and older and are applying to study one of the following courses: A-levels (including A2 and AS-levels) maximum of four A/AS/A2 Levels Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Access to HE Diploma Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) Level 3 Certificate (for example; BTEC or NVQ certificate course at Level 3) QCF Level 3 Diploma (for example; BTEC or NVQ diploma course at Level 3) QCF Level 4 Certificate QCF Level 4 Diploma What HAS changed? College courses at Level 3 and above for those who are 24 years old and older are no longer Government subsidised. Instead, a Government loan is available if you need help with course costs so you might not have to pay upfront course fees, and you will not have to pay back the loan until you earn over 21,000. It s easy to apply, your household income isn t taken into account and there s no credit check. This loan is only available to students on eligible courses at approved institutions such as City and Islington College. This leaflet tells you what your options are and gives links to clear sources of information. There s lots of advice available, so by taking a few simple steps now, you can carry on studying towards your ideal job and career.

3 Getting the right qualification gives you better prospects in life. City and Islington College Adult Student city and islington college A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans 3

4 Paying for your course You have three options to fund your course: You can take out a Student Loan. These loans are designed to make studying accessible and affordable. Find out more about them on pages 6 9. You can pay for your course with your own money, either upfront or through the College s direct debit scheme. There are no interest charges on this direct debit scheme. You can pay for your course using a combination your own funds and partly from a Student Loan. With a Student Loan, if for any reason your income falls below 21,000 such as a career break or unemployment your repayments will automatically be suspended and only start again when you earn over 21,000. Is it worth it? Yes! Doing a College course is a great investment in your future. A College course can equip you with the employability skills you need to develop professionally. It demonstrates a level of expertise to employers and enhances the prospect of attaining employment. College qualifications can also help you to access degree level qualifications. City and Islington College has a proven record in helping students to succeed: College pass rates on Level 3 courses are 90%. Last year 191 students aged 24 years old and older went on to university after completing a Level 3 course at the College 93% of students surveyed would recommend their course to a friend. City and Islington College is the only College in London to be judged by Ofsted as Outstanding across every measure. I had a College that did the same course about A 5 minute walk from my house, but I chose to come here because they had an Outstanding Ofsted. Now I do an hour and a half bus journey just to come to this college. CITY AND ISLINGTON COLLEGE Level 3 Adult Student 4 city and islington college A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans

5 There is a chemistry teacher HERE and she just makes the subject come alive, the way she delivers it makes it seem really relevant and applicable to our lives. City and islington college Access Student Studying on Access to Higher Education Diploma Courses Access courses are Level 3 qualifications designed to prepare adult students for university, if they don t already have the standard qualifications required for entry. If you get a Loan to cover tuition fees for an Access to Higher Education Diploma and then complete a Higher Education course, you won t have to repay the Loan for the Access Course. We offer Access courses leading to a wide range of degrees in Business, Humanities, Law, Media, Medicine, Nursing and other health-related degrees, Social Sciences and Teaching. Last year over 200 of our students who completed an Access to Higher Education Diploma course went to university. The Bursary Fund This is a bursary that is available from the College for students who meet the criteria. A limited Bursary Fund is available to help vulnerable students, such as those with learning difficulties or disabilities, parents who need help with childcare, and ex-military personnel. There are two types of support schemes: The Discretionary Learner Support (DLS) is for hardship, childcare and residential support. This will only be available to individuals who have taken out a Student Loan. The Additional Learning Support activity which is for in-learning support, such as teaching assistant support and making adjustments as required under the Equality Act Further information about these bursaries including eligibility criteria and application method will be discussed with you at enrolment. city and islington college A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans 5

6 FAQs About Student Loans What is a Student Loan? A Student Loan is a Government-backed Loan. It is very different from a bank Loan. You might also see it referred to as a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan. A Student Loan will help you pay for the course you want to do, gain new skills and secure the job you want. If you re planning to continue your studies, it will help you to pay for the course you need to enable you to progress further and study for a degree. Interest on the loan is typically lower than the rate charged by high street banks, but you should always seek independent financial advice before taking out a loan. Who can apply for the Student Loan? You have to be aged 24 years old and over at the start of your course and be enrolled on a full qualification at Level 3 or 4 as detailed on page 2. NB Units of qualifications and Awards at Level 3 and above are ineligible for funding; you must be enrolled on the full qualification. Are the Student Loans means tested or subject to a credit check? Student Loans are not subject to credit checks or means testing. There are some criteria that apply and you can find out what these are from Student Finance England. The Student Loans Company will assess your form and determine if you are eligible to take out a student loan. Who is eligible for A Student Loan? To be eligible for a loan, a learner must meet the following personal criteria: 1. Aged 24 years old or over on the first day of their learning aim between 1 August 2014 and 31 July Living at an address in the UK on the first day of their learning aim between 1 August 2014 and 31 July Have been ordinarily resident inside the United Kingdom for the three years preceding the start of their academic year. 4. They satisfy the nationality and residency criteria in line with the current criteria for HE loans. How can you apply for a Student Loan? You apply directly to Student Finance England who will assess your eligibility. When your application has been approved and you have attended your course for two weeks, the Loan amount will be paid directly to the College. How many loans can I take out? You can access a maximum of four loans for the different categories of provision set out in page 2. 6 city and islington college A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans

7 How long will it take to process an application? Normally, if you provide all the information required and apply online up to five days or two weeks by post. Forms are available and can be completed online at: uk/24_advanced_learning_loans How much will the Student Loan be for? The amount you get depends on the cost of the course, material fees and examination costs. The minimum Loan amount is 300. Student loans are available up to a maximum of 100% of the cost of the course. Can I pay part of the fees with a Student Loan and part with my own funds? Yes, you can pay for your course either in full by yourself, in full through a Student Loan, or part Student Loan and part from your own funds. If you are paying for the course from your own funds, the College offers a direct debit scheme so you can spread the payments over a number of months. Can the Student Loan be used for other purposes? Student Loans are paid directly to the College and are only available to cover the cost of your course fees. A bursary will be made available to assist with the cost of attending College, such as childcare and travel expenses, but these will be subject to a separate application process and will be restricted to individuals who are the most in need of financial support, see page 5 for more information. Will I be able to get a loan if I ve already achieved a similar qualification (i.e. I already have A Levels)? Yes. Previous qualifications you ve achieved won t affect your ability to take out one of these loans. However, once you ve received a loan to undertake a course you won t be able to take out another loan to do the same type of course at the same level. You ll be able to take out further loans to complete different types or levels of eligible courses. There is no requirement to progress through qualification levels. city and islington college A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans 7

8 FAQs About Student Loans continued Does everybody have to pay their Student Loan back? Yes but with some exceptions. If you get a Student Loan to cover tuition fees for an Access to Higher Education Diploma (a course that will prepare you for Higher Education) and then complete a Higher Education course, you won t have to repay the Student Loan for the Access Course. Any Loan amount remaining 30 years after you re due to start making repayments will be cancelled. What if I leave my course? If you decide to leave your course before it finishes you will be required to pay back an amount proportionate to the time you have studied. So if the course lasts 10 months and the loan is 3,000 and you leave after 5 months you will be liable for a loan amount of So if you attend for half of the course you will be liable for half of the Loan. What if I change my mind? The loan can be cancelled prior to you starting your studies if you inform the Student Loans Company two weeks before starting the course, or if you do not enrol on the course. If I finish my course earlier, will I be entitled to a refund on the Student Loan amount? The Student Loan amount is calculated based on the qualification that you are studying towards, as such you will not be entitled to a refund if you complete your qualification earlier. When and how will I have to start paying my Student Loan back? The earliest repayment start date is April 2016 and you will only start to make payments once you are earning over 21,000 per year before tax and deductions. Most Student Loans are repaid through your employer s payroll department the money is deducted from your salary just like tax. Thus unlike commercial loans, no debt collectors will ever be involved with Student Loans and if you ever earn under 21,000 or lose your job, payments will simply stop no questions asked! You can make voluntary repayments at any time to pay off your Student Loan more quickly. See page 9 for an example of how repayments are worked out. Any Loan amount remaining 30 years after you re due to start making repayments will be cancelled. 8 city and islington college A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans

9 Repayment NB: The information below has been taken from the Student Loans Company website. You should discuss interest rates and repayment options directly with the Student Loans Company. For more information visit: Repaying your 24+ Advanced Learning 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 21,000 per year and you will only pay back 9% of any income above 21,000 a year. See the table below for examples of what you ll repay based on your earnings: Income each year before tax Monthly salary Monthly repayment Up to 21,000 1, ,000 1, ,000 2, ,000 2, ,000 2, ,000 3, city and islington college A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans 9

10 What do I have to do next? 1. Firstly, apply for a course at the College by visiting: 2. We will then invite you in for an interview and, provided that you meet entry requirements, we will make you an offer. 3. Next, you will have to decide how you will pay for your course. If you plan to take out a Student Loan, you will need to apply online. NB You will need an offer from the College in order to make a student loan application. Visit: What information do I need to provide when applying for a loan? You ll need to provide details of the: course you wish to study, college or training organisation where you wish to study, tuition fee you re being charged, amount of loan you wish to take out. You will also be required to provide your personal details (name, address, etc.) and evidence to confirm your identity. For UK passport holders this will just be your valid UK passport details (not a physical passport). If you re a UK national but don t hold a passport you ll be asked to provide another form of evidence such as a UK birth certificate, which will be returned to you. If you re not a UK national you ll need to provide physical identity evidence, as well as evidence that you re a permanent resident inside the UK. You ll also need to provide a valid National Insurance number in order for the loan to be paid to the college or training organisation on your behalf. 4. The College will then invite you in for enrolment. You should attend enrolment with either documentation from the Student Loans Company showing that you have secured a student loan for your course, or a method of payment, if you are funding the course yourself. We will provide you with these details after your interview/assessment. 10 city and islington college A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans

11 I don t have a National Insurance number but I want to apply for a loan, what should I do? A National Insurance number is required in order for the loan to be paid to the College on your behalf. If you don t have a National Insurance number you can still apply for a loan. Student Finance England will contact you if you need to do anything to obtain one. Can I apply for a loan after my course has started? Yes. As long as your course started on or after 1 August It s possible to apply for a loan at any time during your course, but not after you ve completed it. Where can I get more information? It s important to remember that Colleges are not professional financial advisers. For professional financial advice or more information about student loans contact: The Money Advice Service: Your nearest Citizen s Advice Bureau (CAB) Student Loans Company website: Download the following information sheets from the Student Loans Company website: factsheet.pdf faq_v2.pdf National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA) website: National Careers Service by calling or by visiting: Further information about courses offered at the College can be found by: Attending an open day. Check our website for upcoming dates and times Contacting the College on Website: city and islington college A Guide to 24+ Advanced Learning Loans 11

12 If you would like this information in an alternative format please contact Course Information on: or For other enquiries T: F: City and Islington College The Marlborough Building 383 Holloway Road London N7 0RN Please note: The content of this leaflet has been prepared by City and Islington College based on information provided by the Student Loans Company, the Money Advisory Service and other official sources in September This leaflet is not designed to make recommendations on an individual s financial situation and should be read as guidance only. Individuals are advised to discuss personal finance matters with a qualified independent financial advisor. Please contact us if you would like this information in alternative formats (e.g. large print).

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