A two-month consultation was launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in June to look at making the FE loans system cover level two qualifications and learners aged 19+ rather than 24+.
Unfortunately, it’s now looking like we won’t be seeing these changes as soon as we hoped. This comes after the publication of the government’s response to the consultation on the 24th of March. In the response, Skills Minister, Nick Boles confirmed that “we will not be going ahead with our plans for expansion at the moment”, but instead they “will look again at these proposals in the Spending Review”.
A couple of positives that did come out of the response though, was the news that from the 2016/17 academic year, the rule which prevents a learner from undertaking two loans-funded courses at the same time will be removed. Furthermore, the repeat study rule will also be removed from the same academic year. This rule prevented learners from undertaking multiple loans-funded courses of the same type and level.
Nick Boles mentioned that “there were many examples where the repeat study rule is seen to be hindering progression in some sectors such as health and beauty, and joinery.” And, “as Advanced Learning Loans become further embedded, this may become a more wide-spread problem.”
Let’s hope for further developments on the 24+ Advanced Learning Loans in the near future!