Loans will not stifle adult education

John Hayes

Contrary to what last week's article ("Survey sparks fears that adults may reject education over loans", 18 May) suggests, earlier this month my department published independent research that showed that most adults would continue with their learning after the introduction of FE loans at level 3 for those aged 24 and over. The research suggests that loans are unlikely to be a major barrier to participation, with three-quarters saying they are still likely to want to continue to study. Only 3 per cent said that they would definitely not be interested in learning if they needed a loan.

By introducing loans, we are keeping learning available for all at a time when funds are severely limited and when government grant funding is being focused on priority groups such as young people, those without basic skills and those seeking work. There is nothing to pay up front, nothing to repay until the individual is earning #163;21,000, low real rates of interest and any outstanding balance written off after 30 years.

There are challenges ahead, but we are committed to making sure that no one is left out of learning.

John Hayes, Minister for further education, skills and lifelong learning.

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John Hayes

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