If you are interested in continuing into further education, be that straight from school, college or as a mature student then course detective www.coursedetective.co.uk should be your first port of call. You may find exactly the course for you and furthermore you may be able to apply for student finance. 
Check the government website Student finance: Eligibility - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) to find out if you are eligible. (If you are eligible for a loan from Student Finance, please remember that England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales all have slightly different procedures but will in essence provide exactly the same finance.) 
Making that decision to study further or to study for the first time in many years can be extremely daunting from an academic viewpoint, let alone from a financial one! So, here’s a quick run down of what you can expect to receive financially and how you will be expected to pay it back. 
If you are simply seeking a student loan to pay for the course you have chosen to study, then student finance will usually pay the university/college/provider directly. The amount will vary depending on the course and your own personal situation. 
If you are seeking assistance with childcare costs you need to be 20 years old and apply for Learner Support through your course provider. 
The money can then be: 
· paid directly to you, so you won’t need to pay it back, or 
· loaned to you, which means you will have to pay it back, depending on the purpose. 
If you are 19 or under, you might qualify for a Care to Learn grant for help with childcare costs while you’re studying. The fact it is a grant, usually means there is nothing to repay. 
How will you pay back the loan? 
You do not have to pay back any of your loan, until you are earning over £27,295 per annum. Repayments are set at 9% of your income over and above the minimum of £27,295 per annum. For example: 
You earn £32,000 per annum. The amount above the minimum allowable earnings of £27,295 is £4,705. The amount to pay back on your loan is 9% of £4,705 which is £423.45 over the year or £35.29 per month (If you are fully employed and paid via a PAYE system then it will be taken at source). You will be charged interest while you complete your course and until the following April after leaving your course. After which, interest is linked to your earnings. Repayments will stop if you fall below the allowable earnings threshold of £27,295. 
What is not readily talked about or understood is that any outstanding balance is automatically written off after 30 years – so maybe student loans are not as scary as you initially thought. They are not right for everyone, but if you sincerely want to continue your education and finance is putting you off – just ask the questions at Student Finance and make an informed decision! While Course Detective cannot give you any financial advice, they can help you find the right course for you, and they can point you to the right place for assistance with financing that course. 
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