Version 1.0 - Last Updated: 24 Feb 2021

Eligibility and assessment

A level factsheet

To be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan, learners must be studying at an approved learning provider in England. They may study any of the following types and levels of approved learning aims:

  • a programme of A levels (AS or A levels) – up to 4 full A levels
  • QAA Access to HE Diplomas
  • vocational qualifications at levels 3, 4, 5 and 6

Learners can have up to 4 loans. These can be any combination of the above types and levels.

For learners studying A levels, a programme can include up to 4 full A levels. This means that one programme may have up to 8 separate loan applications if the learner undertakes AS level study. They can make these applications at the same time or one after the other. 

A programme of A levels together counts as only one of the 4 loans. A learner can still apply for 3 more loans for learning aims that are not AS or A levels.

Changes between AS and A level

Following the changes to the way A levels work, learners can only apply for an AS level learning aim or a full A level. One-year A2 learning aims have been removed.

An AS level learning aim usually takes one year. A full A level learning aim is longer with a higher maximum loan rate.

If a learner wants to continue from an AS to a full A level, they or you can submit a Learning Aim CoC to change to the new course. This is possible whether their application is in pre-liability or post-liability status.

Learners are in pre-liability status if you have not confirmed their initial attendance. This means they are free to change:

  • to a learning aim of the same level and type
  • to a learning aim of a different level or type

Once you have confirmed a learner’s initial attendance, their application will be in post-liability status. A post-liability learner cannot change to a different type of learning aim at the same level. Any fee charged for the A level application should take into consideration any fees already paid for the AS level.

Learners who are applying for a full A level attract a higher rate of loan because they may be studying for longer.

If a learner is only applying for a full A level to top up previous AS level study, you should reduce the fee on the new application to reflect their prior attainment.

The online system currently allows up to 4 applications. It does not recognise that a programme of A levels can be made up of 8 applications.  Learners who would like to take out more than 4 loans to make up their A level programme need to submit separate paper applications after submitting their 4 online applications.

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