What are Advanced Learning Loans?

These loans are suitable for Adult learners above the age of 19 who want to study Level 3 and 4 courses.

They are similar to Higher Education Loans, but for the further education sector.

Do I Qualify?

To qualify you must be:

  • Aged 19 or over on the first day of your course (24 or over if your course begins before 1 August 2017) on the first day of your course (there’s no upper age limit)
  • studying with a college or training organisation in England approved for public funding
  • living in the UK on the first day of your course and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for three years immediately before this unless you meet 
    one of the exceptions detailed in the ‘Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Learners’
  • Enrolling on an eligible course at Level 3 to 6 (Level 3 or 4 only if your course begins before 1 August 2016) which includes A levels, Access to HE Diplomas and other Vocational Qualifications.

Applying is easy

Apply online or download an application form at

Making the right choice

It’s important you consider your own circumstances and look into all options for paying for your course before choosing to take out a loan.

If you are 19 to 23 and are studying your first full Level 3 qualification you might be able to get a grant to help pay for your course. You can choose to fund your Level 3 qualification with either a grant or an Advanced Learner Loan, but you choose to fund it with an Advanced Learner Loan, you lose your entitlement to grant funding.

If your Learning Provider does not offer a grant-funded course, you’ll need to find a Learning Provider that does. The National Careers Service [include contact details] will be able to advise you which Learning Providers in your local area offer the course you want to do with grant funding.

If you want advice on managing your finances you can get impartial money advice from the Money Advice Service at

For more information visit GOV.UK here

How much can I get?

The amount you can get depends on your course, the fees charged by your college or training organisation and maximum amounts set by the government. The minimum loan amount is £300. You can take out a loan for the maximum amount to cover your fee or you can pay all or part of the fee yourself.

Course Fees

The fee for your course will be set by your college or training organisation. They’ll confirm the cost and the amount that can be covered by a loan before you enrol.

How’s the loan paid?

Student Finance England will pay your agreed loan to your college or training organisation once they’ve confirmed you’ve registered on your course.

How many loans can I get?

You can have up to a maximum of four Advanced Learner Loans in total.
If you started your course before 1 August 2016, you can only take out one loan at a time for non A Level courses and you can’t get a second loan for a course of the same type and level as the one you’ve already completed.
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 any eligible type and level.
You should speak to your college or provider to check that the combinations you would like to study will benefit you and lead to progression.
For A Levels you can apply for a loan to fund each course you take towards your A Levels - up to a maximum of 4 A Levels. This means you can have up to 8 loans at once if you’re taking each A Level as 2 separate courses.
The courses must be in the same subject to qualify for a full A Level. You can also get up to three loans for non A Level courses.

Access to HE Diplomas

If you’re undertaking an Access to HE Diploma and then go on to complete an HE qualification, the outstanding balance of your Advanced Learner Loan will be written off.
You can only get one Advanced Learner Loan to fund an Access to HE course. To qualify for this write off you must have fully completed both courses. You don’t need to take out a loan for the HE course.
The HE course doesn’t need to relate to the Access to HE course you complete.
The HE course must be eligible for funding by Student Finance England.


Repaying your Advanced Learner 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 £404 per week, £1,750 per month or £21,000 per year you’ll only pay back 9% of any income above £21,000 a year.

Please visit this site for more information on the change.

If your loan is for an Access to Higher Education course and you progress and complete a Higher Education course*, your loan will be written off, meaning you won’t have to pay it back!

For more information, get in touch with Student Services on 01424 458475.

*The higher education course must be eligible for student finance


Choose your course

Whatever your reason for returning to education, you will want to make sure you choose the right course. Doing a course takes time and commitment, so you need to make sure you get what you want out of it. We recommend you always seek advice and guidance when choosing. You could:

  • Look through this prospectus
  • Attend an open evening and meet the tutors
  • Visit the website for more information
  • Browse careers advice websites and reference library materials
  • Make an appointment to speak to a National Careers Service adviser on 0800 1954700
  • Contact our Advice Team and Careers Advisers for independent advice on choosing a suitable course


Make an application

For all courses you must complete an Enrolment Form. You can either download a form, use a copy from the prospectus, or pick up a hard copy from Student Central. Some courses fill up very quickly so you are advised to apply early. Please note that completing the form doesn’t commit you to a course or guarantee you a place.


If no interview is required, please ensure that you send or bring in appropriate payment and/or relevant benefits evidence with your enrolment form. If an interview is required, please do not send payment, but once you are invited to an interview, come prepared to pay, or show relevant benefits evidence, or, if your employer is paying, a headed letter (with purchase order number). Once your application has been received, you will be sent a letter of acknowledgement from the College. If you have not received an acknowledgement within seven working days, please contact us. To enrol you will be required to provide identification, for UK nationals this may be in the form of Passport or Birth Certificate. If you are an EU/ EEA national you will need to provide your passport or national ID card and for non-European nationals you will need to provide passport evidence along with a valid visa or ARC/ Biometric card.


Come to an interview

Depending on your course, you may be required to attend an interview ­­– either on your own or as part of a group. You will be contacted with an interview date; if you cannot keep the appointment, please contact the college to reschedule. If your interview is successful you will be given an offer of a place. 

At enrolment, you will receive all information on the start date of your course, your tutor and location.

If you have any other questions, please contact our advisers on 01424 458465.


Pay your fees

For more details on fees and how to pay them, please click here.

Every year, more than 5,000 students study part-time at East Sussex College Hastings. Each one of them brings their own unique experience, talent and ambition. This diversity makes the college a vibrant place to study. We want you to enjoy a rich and rewarding experience and we provide constant support to remove any obstacles that might prevent this. There is a range of advice, information and guidance available to students of all ages, including:

Student Services Team

Our Student Advisers provide information on all our courses and impartial information about training and education for whatever you plan to do. They can help with:

  • Applying for courses
  • Arranging taster days and visits to college
  • Sharing the experiences of students
  • Information about course requirements
  • Information about childcare and financial support
  • Career and employment advice

Additional Learning Support

We recognise that each student has very different needs and we will provide you with the support and encouragement you need. Our ALS team will work closely with you to help remove obstacles that prevent you from learning – just come and talk to us about any needs you may have, for example:

  • Autism
  • Dyslexia
  • Mental health and well-being
  • Deaf or hard of hearing
  • Physical disabilities
  • Learning difficulties
  • Blind or partially sighted
  • Exam access arrangements
  • Specialist equipment
  • Reader, note-taker or prompt

For more information, contact our Additional Learning Support team on 01424 458530 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The college counsellors provide support for any student who is experiencing problems with learning or personal issues. This service is free and confidential. For more information, please call 01424 458530.

Health and Well-being

If you need help or more information about the topics below, you can talk to one of our friendly Student Engagement Team members.

  • Stop smoking support
  • Help with drug and alcohol issues
  • Anger management
  • Healthy living advice

Equality and Diversity

Here at East Sussex College Hastings, we respect diversity within the college and community. We value the differences that gender, disability, race, socio-economic background, sexuality, faith, age and culture bring to our lives and work. We are committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all who learn and work at the college. We strive to create an environment that is safe and free from all forms of discrimination.

As an adult learner, you can choose from a huge range of qualifications or leisure courses. You could go for an academic subject, something more related to your job, a qualification that focuses on skills or to find a new past time. Qualifications prove that you’ve gained knowledge and developed certain skills, and can help you get a better job or learn something new.


These are the main qualification taken by 14 to 16 year olds, but the college has a few available as adult evening classes, namely maths, English and science. These are run as Level 2 courses. Currently we require a D/3 Level or equivalent from earlier education, as our GCSEs are run as one-year fast-track programmes. 


A (Advanced) Level qualifications focus on traditional study skills. These are run at Level 3, the next level above GCSE and other Level 2 equivalent courses. They normally take two years to complete full-time, although we also offer a few to study part-time. 


Degrees, HNC/Ds and Foundation Degrees are Higher Education qualifications that help you develop a thorough understanding of a subject. There are a wide range of subjects to choose from. Please see the Higher Education prospectus for more information about degree level courses. We do offer a selection of these on a part-time basis.

Vocational and Professional Qualifications

Vocational or work-related qualifications focus on learning practical skills. They are designed to allow you to learn in a way that suits you, and give you the skills that employers are looking for. At East Sussex College Hastings, there are lots to choose from, in a wide range of levels and subjects. 

Qualifications needed for Higher Education

There are various routes into Higher Education, including academic and vocational qualifications. Some courses may require specific qualifications so it’s worth looking at the specific university or college prospectus for more detailed information. If your qualifications don’t meet the standard entry requirements, you can do an Access course (or pre-Access preparatory course). You need few or no previous qualifications to do an Access course (or pre-Access preparatory course) and it allows you to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence needed for Higher Education.

Skills-based Qualifications

Other qualifications can show you’ve got the skills to get on in work and life in general, such as reading, writing, working with numbers or using a computer.

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