The student finance system will be receiving a complete overhaul beginning in 2025. Under the new scheme, applicants will be able to receive loans amounting to four years of higher education. These loans will be able to be used flexibly throughout the person’s life at their discretion. This will allow students with responsibilities such as childcare and employment a more adjustable experience of education. The funds, equivalent to £37,000 in today’s fees, are available up to the age of 60.
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The new ‘Plan 5’ terms involve paying back 9% of what you earn above a £25,000 threshold. Any funds owed after 40 years will be erased.
An online portal will allow students to check on their funds, much like a bank account. It will also allow them to read up on pertinent information regarding what courses and modules they can use it on, and keep track of their academic progress.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “I know first-hand the benefits of lifelong learning, having retrained and upskilled numerous times in my journey from apprentice to Education Secretary.
“Lifelong learning is critical to career progression, helping to fill skills gaps and boost the economy, which is why this overhaul to our student finance system is so important.
“The Lifelong Loan Entitlement will give people flexibility to study, train and upskill throughout their working life, in recognition that careers aren’t linear. In doing so, it will facilitate a complete culture shift in the way further and higher education is viewed and who it is available to.”
The scheme will include maintenance loans for those on technical and part-time courses as well as full time study. This will allow for a broader umbrella that will include certain training and technical qualifications. Remote learners, however, have not been included.
Those who have already taken out student loans can still participate in the new system. Those who received three years of funding, for example, will be entitled to an additional year.
Chief Executive of Universities UK, Vivienne Stern, stated: “The removal of ELQ requirements and the expansion of part-time maintenance support should be celebrated and will help new and returning people access the courses they need to thrive. If we get the communication out to learners right and keep the burden on providers low, then the Lifelong Loan Entitlement has the potential to be truly transformative.”
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