The “New Challenges, New Chances” consultation stage impact assessment “Further Education—Level 3+ Loans” published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 16 August 2011 contained estimates as follows:
- For the 2013-14 financial year, it was estimated that 186,000 learners aged 24 and above would be supported to start level 3 and level 4 courses. This estimate included both starts supported through loans for the academic year starting in September 2013 (when these loans were introduced), and grant-funded starts prior to that. No separate estimate of loan-funded learners was available.
- The estimate of starts to be funded by 24+ Advanced Learning Loans for 2014-15 financial year was 171,000. These estimates also included Apprenticeships which were removed from 24+ Advanced Learning Loans in March 2014.
The number of students the budget supports depends on the level of demand and the cost of the courses that students choose. The skills investment strategy published by BIS on 1December 2011 confirmed the budget for further education loans as £129 million in 2013-14 and £398 million in 2014-15. These budgets were not revised.
The 24+ Advanced Learning Loans paid in England report by the Student Loans Company published on 14th October 2015 shows 55,900 learners in the 2013/14 academic year cohort were issued with loans for qualifications at level 3 and above, and 55,100 learners were issued to the 2014/15 academic year cohort.
Data is not available to split the loans issued between Access to HE Diploma courses and other level 3 and level 4 courses. We can, however split the number of approved applications in this way, with the caveat that approved applications are not indicative of actual starts. These are shown in the table below.
Level 3 and level 4
Access to HE Diplomas
Source: Student Loans Company