Advanced Learning Loans

Government-backed loans for adult learners

If you are looking to start your career in fitness but are finding it difficult to cover the cost of your training, an Advanced Learning Loan* could be just the boost that you’re looking for.

Part of a government-backed initiative, the loan provides a flexible way for learners over the age of 19 to pay their course fees. You do not have to repay your loan until you are earning over £21,000 per year with interest being based upon income.

Plus, there are no credit checks and applications are not dependent on your income.

The Advanced Learning Loan is available on the following YMCAfit courses:

CourseFormatCourse feeDeposit*Maximum loan available
Diploma in Personal TrainingIntensive£2,880£375£2,880
Diploma in Teaching YogaIntensive£1,199£375£1,199
Diploma in Exercise ReferralIntensive£549£125£799**
Certificate in Personal TrainingBlended£1,540£250£1,417****
Diploma in Sports MassageIntensive£1,800£375£1,800

*Deposits are refundable upon completion of your course and be issued in conjunction with your certification.

**The additional loan amount is available to cover the cost of Level 3 Anatomy and Physiology plus Exercise Nutrition which are required for full certification. View the Diploma in Exercise Referral page for full details

****Additional course fees of £123 not covered by the loan for the Certificate in Personal Training are deducted from initial deposit which is refunded upon completion of course. Students will be refunded £127.

Reach Level 4 with an Advanced Learning Loan

It is now also possible to access Level 4 through the  Advanced Learning Loans. Depending on the qualification which you currently hold, you may need to take additional courses or modules to be eligible for Level 4 as shown below:

Current qualificationCourses you will takeCourse feeDeposit*Maximum loan available
Diploma in Exercise ReferralObesity and Diabetes Level 4 or Lower back pain£549£125£549
Diploma in Personal TrainingDiploma in Exercise Referral and Obesity and Diabetes Level 4 or Lower back pain£1,098£250£1,098
Diploma in Teaching Yoga or Level 3 PilatesDiploma in Exercise Referral, Exercise Nutrition and Obesity and Diabetes Level 4 or Lower back pain£1,248£250£1,248
Gym Instructor or Exercise to MusicDiploma in Exercise Referral, Exercise Nutrition, Anatomy and Physiology Level 3 and Obesity and Diabetes Level 4 or Lower back pain£1,348£250£1,348

*Deposits are refundable upon completion of your course and will be issued in conjunction with your certification.

Visit the government website for general information on the Advanced Learning Loan.


The Advanced learning loans are available for all of the courses listed in the Overview tab. In order to qualify you must:

  • be 19 years of age or older and have already completed a level 3 qualification
  • you will need to have a National Insurance number

Residency status

You must:

  • be living in the UK on the first day of your course
  • have been living in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for 3 years before starting your course
  • be a UK national or have ‘settled status’ (this means there’s no restrictions on how long you can stay)

You may also qualify if you’re:

  • an EU national or a family member of one
  • a refugee
  • a migrant worker
  • the child of a Swiss national
  • the child of a Turkish worker


You pay back your loan (plus interest) when you finish your course and earn more than £21,000 a year. Your repayments will not start until April 2016 and will stop if your income drops below £21,000 a year.

Your monthly repayment will be 9% of any income you earn over £21,000.


You pay interest from the time your first payment is made until you pay your loan back in full.

While you’re studying and until the April after you leave the courseRate of inflation (Retail Price Index) plus 3%
£21,000 or lessRate of inflation
£21,000 to £41,000Rate of inflation plus up to 3%
£41,000 and overRate of inflation plus 3%

Making repayments

If you’re an employee, your employer will work out your repayments and take them out of your salary with your tax.

If you’re self-employed you make repayments as part of your Self Assessment tax return.

You can pay some or your entire loan at any time without an extra charge.

If you leave or change your course

You’ll have to pay back any money (plus interest) that’s been paid to your college or training provider if you leave or change your course after 2 weeks.

The interest rate will be the rate of inflation.

Speak to your college or training provider to see if they can transfer the loan to another course.

How to apply

  1. Book onto a course.
  2. Inform your sales advisor that you are interested in applying for the Advanced Learning Loan and will require a ‘Learning and funding information’ letter - you will need this letter to complete your application as it contains the details about your course.
  3. Register and apply online. If you can’t apply online you can download the forms below and send them to the stated address.
  4. You will receive a letter confirming your loan - usually within 2 weeks if you apply online (postal applications may take up to a maximum of 20 working days).

Application form
Guidance notes
Terms and conditions
Data protection information

Proof of identity

You will need to provide proof of identity as part of your application. Please include your UK passport details in your application as proof of identity. If you forget, use the ‘UK passport details form’ below.

UK passport details form

If you don’t have a UK passport (or it has expired), send your birth or adoption certificate using the ‘Birth or adoption certificate form’ below.

Birth or adoption certificate form

Supporting information

If you need to send evidence to support your application, such as proof of residency status. Please use the evidence return form below.

Evidence return form

Signature form

If you send your application and have forgotten to sign the form, you will need to complete the signature form below.

Signature form

Changing an application

If you want to change the amount of loan you’ve applied for, use the ‘Loan request’ form.

Loan request form

If your personal details (eg, contact details), you will need to complete a ‘Change of circumstance’ form. this form is not currently available.


How will I receive the loan?

You won’t receive the loan directly. If your application is successful the loan is paid directly to the training provider to help with the cost of the course fees.

Does the loan cover the full amount of the course fees?

This depends on the course you are taking. If the maximum loan available does not meet the full cost of the course then the difference will be deducted from your deposit. This would presently only affect those learners that select the Advanced Diploma in Personal Training as there is a shortfall of £173 that will deducted when your deposit is refunded. 

Do I have to take out the maximum loan available for my course?

No, you can apply for a loan for any sum between the minimum loan amount of £300 and the maximum loan for the particular course you are applying for.

If I have a poor credit rating and/or a low income, will this affect my ability to get a loan?

No. No credit checks are taken as part of the loan application process, nor is the loan dependent on income.

If I have taken out student loan agreements for former courses am I still eligible for an Advanced Learning Loan?

Yes. However, the Students Loan Company can make a student ineligible for an Advanced Learning Loan or deem them unfit for support in one of  the following circumstances:
  • the student is in arrears from a previous Advanced Learning Loan or a Higher Education Loan
  • the learner has an ungratified mortgage style Higher Education Loan

However, such circumstances are very rare and cannot arise if the individual has not previously received a Loan from the Students Loan Company.

If I have taken other courses previously, will this affect my loan application?

No. Previous educational study will not affect a learner’s entitlement to their first loan. Learners can use up to four loans. 

Can I take out more than one Advance Learning Loan?

Additional Advanced loans are available at different levelts to support progression. An individual can apply for a maximum of four Advanced Learning Loans that have been approved by the Government for the funding.

Can the loan be used to help with books, travel and equipment?

No, the loan cannot be used to subsidise the costs of books, travel equipment or any other additional resources required by the learner to access the programme. The loan is to cover tuition costs only and is paid directly to the training provider.