Government announces ‘radical transformation’ in student finance

 (Queen Mary University of London)
(Queen Mary University of London)

A massive student finance overhaul will allow people to retrain no matter what their age – but only if they attend in person.

The Government has announced plans to allow people to access Lifelong Loan Entitlements (LLE), which equate to four years of post-18 education throughout their lives.

This is £37,000 in today’s tuition fees, but the loans will only be made available for courses attended in person, not online learning or remote-learning courses.

What are the current rules for student loans?

The overhaul is designed for England’s student loan system only, as the education system is devolved, meaning student finance is different in other parts of the UK.

At present, they are typically made up of two elements; a loan for tuition fees and a maintenance loan that covers living costs.

The tuition fee loan is equal to the annual cost of a course and is capped at £9,250. The maintenance loan is for living costs and is means-tested, so not all are eligible.

Students from England can look use a student finance calculator on the Government website to find out what they qualify for.

What is changing?

The Government is opening up the gates to allow more people to apply for loans to further their education and training, at any point in their lives.

People can apply for loan money to better themselves through higher education throughout their working lives. The money does not have to be used on university, so people can even upskill in their current job. It also can now be used for part-time courses, rather than just full-time higher education. The Government says this will open up doors for those with children, and other commitments and jobs.

Why is it happening?

The Government says it wants to “revolutionise social mobility and plug skills gaps” and open up “opportunities for those that might have never considered higher education”.

When are the plans coming into place?

The new loans - LLE - will be made available from 2025.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “The loan can be used to pay for full- or part-time study, for a variety of courses – from degrees to Higher Technical Qualifications, and including modules.

“Like a flexi-travel card, it allows people to jump on and off their learning, as opposed to having a ticket with a single destination.”