Advanced Learner Loans Stakeholders Group

The Advanced Learner Loans Stakeholders Group is a joint group between SLC and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), appointed by the Department for Education (DfE).

Advanced Learner Loans are for learners studying a Further Education course at an approved college or training organisation in England.

The purpose of this group is to:

  • Engage with key stakeholders at a strategic level in order that the Advanced Learner Loan delivery organisations are supported
  • Gain external advice in the development and implementation of the service
  • Oversee the detailed engagement with practitioners on different aspects of the service and receive relevant updates from this engagement
  • Ensure key interactions and processes that the SFA and SLC respectively need to put into place with the further education (FE) sector, including apprenticeship providers, are effective and work well to ensure the smooth delivery of the service.
  • Support the SFA and SLC in the communication of the loans service to FE sector representative organisations and applicants
  • Help identify risks and key issues, providing advice regarding mitigating actions and feedback on service functionality and issues 'on the ground' - suggesting future improvements and changes to the service.

 

Membership

Chair - Leicester College Principal Verity Hancock
Association of Employment and Learning Providers Paul Warner AELP
Association of Colleges Julian Gravatt AoC
Third Sector National Learning Alliance Stephen Howard TSNLA
Learning and Work Institute Fiona Aldridge L&WI
National Union of Students Natalie Honeybun NUS
Joint Council of Qualifications  Andy Walls JCQ
Stockton Riverside College Phil Hastie
Can Training Ann Gaffney
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Alex Lawrence HMRC
Department for Education Paul Robinson DfE
Skills Funding Agency Ann Grant SFA
Federation of Awarding Bodies Stephen Wright FAB
Preston's College Dianne Allott
Canterbury College Martyn Rogers
Beacon Education Partnership Christian Wilkins
Ixion Holdings Janice Redhead
LD Training Services Linda Johnson
Student Loans Company various SLC

Meeting dates

The Advanced Learner Loans Stakeholders Group meet at key points during the loans work programme.

Key outputs from previous meetings

28 March  2017

Updates were provided by Partner Services, Customer Services and the SFA. Among some of the topics discussed in the update from Partner Services were the key enhancements and process improvements that were being made which will improve the overall process. The importance of attendance confirmations,  withdrawals, the Partner Services Support Desk and also the Learning Provider Forums were also discussed.

25 October 2016

SLC provided an update on application processing which confirmed a very positive performance level. It was noted that the benefits of engaging with learning providers are being seen through a faster and more accurate application process due to a greater understanding in the sector surrounding the required evidence.

DfE provided an overview on the priorities of the Secretary of State for Education and the Skills Minister which focused on social mobility and those disadvantaged in society.

Also noted by DfE was the statement made by Jo Johnson in June who confirmed that EU nationals would continue to be funded under current funding rules in the 16/17 academic year following the referendum result, and the subsequent welcome decision to extend this to the 17/18 academic year.

SFA updated the group on the new provider seminars that were run in July supported by SLC, and supplemented by separate SLC seminars, which were well attended and received positive feedback.

28 June 2016

The group received an update on the Learning and Work Institutes project called Ambition London. The project is an action learning research project to identify interventions which work to engage, inform, train and support learners who are eligible for Advanced Learner Loans with the goal of progression.

The group received an update from SLC which included application handling stats and engagement with Learning Providers with no significant issues to report on.

Members were updated on the continued progress of the DfE consultation on the introduction of the maintenance loans for FE learners.

22 March 2016

The group received an update from SLC which included application handling stats and engagement with Learning Providers with no issues to report on.

BIS, SFA and SLC representatives advised the group of the preparations for the Loans expansion noting that all the activities are going according to plan with no issues to report on.

Members were updated on the upcoming BIS’ consultation on the introduction of the maintenance loans for FE learners and were encouraged to provide as much feedback as possible.

The group also received updates on the SFA’s revision of provider toolkit and statistical information on the access to HE write off from SLC.

08 December 2015

The group received an update from SLC which included application handling stats and engagement with Learning Providers. It was noted that 87% of learners are applying online which is the highest percentage of online applications compared with other SLC products.

The main focus of the meeting was on the Loans expansion that was announced in the most recent Spending Review outlining thatfrom 2016/17, Advanced Learner Loans will be expanded to include those aged 19-23 and those studying at level 5 and level 6. BIS, SFA and SLC representatives advised the group of their activities in supporting the expansion. The launch of expanded Loans is planned for May 2016.

Members also discussed how they can support SLC in communicating repayment messages to graduates.

02 June 2015

The group received an update from SLC which included application handling stats and engagement with Learning Providers. It was noted that there are still about 5000 applications for AY 14/15 with missing evidence/ information.

Members were advised of the launch of AY 15/16 on 05th May 2015 and notified that the number of applications still quite low which is expected for this time of the year.

The group was updated on the SLC’s most recent seminars that took place in May and were attended by 550 delegates. Overall the seminars were successful and received positive feedback.

SFA gave an overview of the 24+ Loans funding context and the analysis of that data which opened discussion on the Loans delivery understanding. The group discussed the barriers and successes of the Loans delivery.

The group also received an overview of the Loans policy considerations from BIS. It was advised that BIS are putting together all the feedback received on the future of the Loans and will be updating the group regarding this in due course.

13 January 2015

The group received an update from SLC which included application handling stats and engagement with Learning Providers. It was noted that the number of applications in 14/15 is quite low and the number of complaints so far is also low.

Members discussed delivered and planned system enhancements for leaning and customer portals and advised they would appreciate for the missing evidence codes to be put onto the learning provider portal as soon as possible.

The group also received a clarification from BIS on the access to HE write off policy for the FE Loans. With the advise to go to SLC practitioners area of the website where they can find a factsheet with clarifications.

SLC’s Customer Insight Team presented results of the customer satisfaction survey from June to November 2014 advising the level of customer satisfaction overall is very high.

The group expressed a great interest in BIS’ consultation results and plans for the 24+ Loans expansion and were advised they will be updated on the matter in the nearest time.