Financial Support

Bursary Fund

If you’re aged 19+ and looking to study at Levels 3 to 6 you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs of the course.  This is a great way to invest in your future and achieve your dream career. 

See below for further information.  Alternatively pop into one of ACL’s many centres or call on 0345 603 7635. 

See which of our courses qualify for a 19+ Advanced Learner Loan.

19+ Advanced Learner Loans

The government no longer funds adults aged over 19 years-old to study at Level 3 to 6, even if you are on benefits.  In order to enable you to study without any up-front costs, 19+ Advanced Learner Loans are available. The course must have started on or after 1 August 2016 and be an eligible Level 3 to 6 course.

Whilst the loans have to be paid back, repayments don’t start until the April after you complete or leave your course.  Also, you won’t have to pay anything back until you earn more than £21,000 a year. 

The loan doesn’t depend on your income and there are no credit checks. You can get independent money advice from the Money Advice Service.

Bursary Fund

You may also be eligible for money from the 19+ Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund if you need help with your learning or living costs, e.g. childcare and other expenses.

You need to apply to your college or training provider directly for the Bursary Fund. You can apply as soon as you’ve received a letter confirming your 19+ Advanced Learner Loan.

In most cases you don’t have to pay back money from the Bursary Fund.

What you’ll get

How much you get depends on the:

• type of course

• course fees

• the maximum loan available for your course

The minimum loan you can get is £300. You don’t have to borrow the full cost of your course - you can pay for some of it yourself.

How the money is paid

The money is paid directly to Adult Community Learning Essex as the training provider.

How many loans can you get?

How many loans you can get depends on your course.

If you start your course on or after 1 August 2016 you can apply for up to four loans at the same time for courses of the same type and level.  However, no more than one loan to complete an Access course.  Loans need to be applied for separately for each learning aim.


Your college or training provider can tell you if you qualify. Whether you qualify for a 19+ Advanced Learner Loan depends on your:

• course

• college or training provider

• age

• nationality or residency status

The course must start between1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017 and be a Level 3 to 6 qualification.

You must be studying at a college or training provider in England approved for public funding (ACL Essex meets that criteria). You must be 19 or older on the first day of your course.


Your nationality or residency status

You must usually:

• be living in the UK on the first day of your course

• have been living in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for 3 years before starting your course

• be a UK national or have ‘settled status’ (this means there’s no restriction on how long you can stay)

You may also qualify if you’re:

• a UK national, or someone with settled status, but you live somewhere else in the EEA

• an EU national or a family member of one

• a refugee

• a migrant worker

• the child of a Swiss national

• the child of a Turkish worker

How to apply

1. Check the course you're interested in qualifies.

2. Ask for a ‘learning and funding information’ letter - you will need this to complete     the application. It contains the details about your course.

3. Apply online; you’ll need to register first at, if you can’t apply online you can download the forms from

4. You’ll get a letter confirming your loan – usually within 2 weeks if you apply online (postal applications take longer).

What you need to know

You can’t apply until you get a ‘learning and funding information’ letter from your college or training provider.

Your course must start between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017.

You can apply for a loan without a National Insurance number but you must have one before the loan can be paid.


Repayments don’t start until the April after you complete or leave your course. You pay back your loan (plus interest) when you finish your course and earn more than £21,000 a year. Your repayments will stop if your income drops below £21,000 a year. Your annual repayment amount will be 9% of any income you earn over £21,000.

If you have more than one loan, you will make a single repayment regardless of how many loans you have.


Your monthly repayments would be:

• £7.50 a  month – if you earned £22,000 a year

• £30 a month – if you earned £25,000 a year

You can get independent money advice from the Money Advice Service.



You pay interest from the time your first payment is made to your college until you pay your loan back in full.

Making repayments

If you’re an employee, your employer will work out your repayments and take them out of your salary with your tax.

If you’re self-employed, you make repayments as part of your Self-Assessment tax return.

You can pay some or all of your loan off at any time without an extra charge.

Leave or change your course

You’ll have to pay back any money (plus interest) that’s been paid to your college or training provider if you leave or change your course after 2 weeks or more.

The interest rate will be the rate of inflation. Speak to your college or training provider to see if they can transfer the loan to another course.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Student Finance England will “write off” any outstanding 19+ Advanced Learner Loans you owe for an Access to HE course once you complete a higher education course. This means you don’t have to repay it. The higher education course must be eligible for student finance.

The majority of the information provided on these pages has been taken from the website.​

Last modified: Monday, 13 February 2017, 10:07 AM