Finance and funding

Hardship Fund and Bursaries

Hardship Funds are available for students with low household incomes, to help pay for the costs associated with attending College. You can only apply for this support once you are enrolled on a College course. Our Student Finance and Welfare Team will help you through the process.

Advanced Learning Loan

Aged 19 or over and thinking about further education. Well there is some good news - the Government has now opened up the Advanced Learning Loan to all students applying for Level 3 and 4 courses!

If you’re starting a course on or after 1st August 2016 you may qualify for an Advanced Learning Loan. These loans help you to pay the tuition fees charged by the college. Most learners aged 19 and over, studying at level 3 and above, will qualify for these loans from the UK government. 

It’s easy to apply, your household income isn’t taken into account and there’s no credit check. 

You won’t have to pay anything back until your income is over £21,000 a year.

Do I qualify?

To qualify you must be:

  • Aged 19 or over on the first day of your course (there’s no upper age-limit) and starting your course on or after 1st August 2016
  • 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
  • Studying with a college or training organisation in England approved for public funding
  • Enrolling on an eligible course at level 3 and above which includes:
    • Access to HE Diplomas
    • Certificates
    • Advanced Apprenticeships
    • Higher Apprenticeships

Applying is easy!

You can apply for a loan now for courses starting between 1st September 2016 and 31st July 2017. You’ll be able to apply online or download an application form.

How much can I get?

The amount you can get depends on your course, the tuition fees charged by the college 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 tuition fee or you can pay all or part of the tuition fee yourself.

Course tuition fees

The tuition fee for your course will be set by the college. They’ll confirm the cost before you enrol.

How’s the loan paid?

Student Finance England (SFE) will pay your agreed tuition fees to the college once we have confirmed your attendance on the course.

You can apply more than once

Once you’ve completed your course, you’ll be eligible to apply for more 24+ Advanced Learning Loans (up to a total of four loans) to help you progress in your studies.


Repaying your Advanced Learning Loan is quite simple.

  • 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, see the table below for examples of what you’ll repay:

Income each year before tax
Monthly salary
Monthly repayment
Up to £21,000

So, if you’re paid monthly and earn £2,500 before tax you would repay 9% of the difference between what you earn and what the individual threshold is: £2,500 – £1,750 = 9% of £750 = £67.50. Your loan repayment would be £67 in that month. If your income drops or rises, for example if you receive a bonus, your repayment amount will automatically change to reflect this.You can make voluntary repayments at any time to pay off your loan more quickly.

  • If you’re employed, you don’t need to do anything. Your employer will take your repayments directly off your salary as they do with tax and national insurance contributions
  • If you stop working, your repayments will stop and only start again when your income is more than £21,000 a year
  • You’ll be due to start repaying your loan in the April after you leave or finish your course –whichever comes first.
  • Any loan remaining 30 years after you’re due to start making repayments will be wiped
Interest rate
While you’re studying and until the April after you finish or leave your course
Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3%
If you finish or leave your course before April 2017
RPI plus 3% until the April after you leave your course then RPI
From April 2017
Interest will be based on your income.£21,000 or less – RPI £21,001 to £41,000 – RPI plus up to 3%, depending on income. £41,001 and over – RPI plus 3%

Useful Links

Government Website: Advanced Learner Loans
Money Advice Service

Please note: Information on this page is taken from government sources and while it is published in good faith, CNWL takes no responsibility for any errors or omissions, and is not responsible for the administration or issuing of the Advanced Learning Loans.