Not sure you have enough money to start studying?
If you’ve put off higher education or further training due to the cost, you’re not alone. But whatever qualification you’re looking to do, there are a range of options out there to help you find funding – you just need to know where to look.
To help you get started, here’s everything you need to know about Adult Learning Grants:
What is an Adult Learning Grant?
An Adult Learning Grant is a sum of money that’s paid either to you, or to your college/university, to help with your education and living costs.
The amount you get will depend on your age, and what course you’re looking to complete. However, unlike a student loan, you usually won’t have to pay the money back.
What types of Adult Learning Grant are there?
There are many types of funding out there you may be eligible for. However, the two main types Adult Learning Grants are:
16-19 Bursary Fund
This is a bursary offered to those aged between 16 and 19, who are in full time education – either at college or university (or completing a training course).
It’s offered as a vulnerable student bursary for those on benefits, in local authority care (or those who recently left) and those with a disability.
If you don’t qualify, your college/university can compare your application against their own criteria (including family income etc.) and may award a discretionary bursary.
Advanced Learner Loan
Those aged over 19 (or aged 24+ if your course started before August 2016), can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.
These are specifically for level 3-6 courses (A-level minimum), and have a minimum loan amount of £300. However, you will have to pay these loans back.
Essentially, they work like student loans for the over 19’s.
How much will I get?
The Adult Learner Loan pays a minimum of £300 but is entirely dependent on your course fees. It’s not based on income, so there are no credit checks like other loans, and the amount awarded is calculated based on the cost of your course.
How many loans can I have?
You can have up to four Adult Learning Loans at any one time for A-Levels, and you can apply for them together (as long as your course starts after August 2016). You can also have 3 non-A-Level loans either before or after your A-Level courses.
When do I pay it back?
Much like a student loan there’s a salary-based repayment system. So after your course has finished and you earn £21,000 or more, you’ll start paying your loan (or loans) back.
How much do I pay back?
Your loan accumulates interest while you study at the rate of inflation. Once your course has finished the interest is charged just at the rate of inflation for £21,000 or less.
Once your repayments start (it had to happen eventually), you pay back 9% of your yearly salary if it’s £21,000 or more.
What about Living Costs?
The Advanced Learner Loan doesn’t cover anything other than your course fees, but there is an Advanced Learner Loan bursary fund you can apply to if you need help with residential costs, childcare costs or other living costs (N.B. this may not include alcohol and Pop-Tarts).
If you’re already in work and just want to further your training, you may be able to get a Professional and Career Development Loan.
However, this will largely depend on what course you’re looking to complete.
For more information on funding, visit gov.uk/grant-bursary-adult-learners now.
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