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“Whether you have to pay the fee in full upfront will usually depend on how much the fees are and how long your course lasts...”

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How do I pay for a vocational course?

You will usually be expected to pay your course fees with cash, credit or debit card upon enrolment at your college or learning establishment. Whether you have to pay the fee in full upfront will usually depend on how much the fees are and how long your course lasts.

For example, Riverside College in Cheshire allows students with fees of £280 or more to pay them in three instalments as long as the course lasts for at least one term.

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Credit card

You may wish to pay for your vocational course upfront using a credit card so you can break your repayments down into manageable monthly amounts. You would need to make sure you could meet the monthly repayments – paying at least the minimum as required by your card issuer - but ideally more than this so you can pay it off as soon as possible and keep the interest you’re charged to a minimum.

You could also use a credit card to pay for other expenses attached to the course, such as books and stationary, but, again, you should keep a close eye on your statements and make sure you don’t spend more than you can afford to pay back.

If you haven’t borrowed in the past or you’ve got into difficulties with previous borrowing and you are worried about how this might affect your ability to take out a credit card, you could consider the Ocean credit card (34.9% APR representative). It has been designed for those with a patchy or non-existent record with credit and, when used responsibly, it can help you build up a positive credit history.

When using a credit card to pay for your vocational course, you need to be sure you can make at least the minimum repayment on time each month as if you don’t you may be met with additional charges and your credit history will be affected. This is because missed or late payments will show on your credit report and make it harder to be accepted for other forms of credit in the future, or you may be offered credit at higher interest rates. 

“You won’t have to pay anything back until you’re earning over £21,000 a year...”

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24+ advanced learning loan

As mentioned in the table above, if you are aged over 24 and want to study a level 3 or 4 course (such as an A level) you may be eligible for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan. You could consider this as an alternative to paying for your course on a credit card.

There’s no credit check involved with applying for this loan and it isn’t means tested. You won’t have to pay anything back until you’re earning over £21,000 a year either, which should make affording your repayments more manageable when they do start. Once you earn over £21,000 a year the amount you pay back is 9% of the earnings you receive above this figure. So, if you earned £22,000 you would pay back 9% of £1,000 every month, which works out as £90 a month.

To find out more and to apply click here >

You could also apply for the 24+ Advanced Learning Loans Bursary Fund from your course provider, which could help you if you have any support needs – for instance if you need help with childcare or housing while you study. For more information you’ll need to contact your course provider directly.

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Professional and career development loan

If you’re aged under 24 but over 18, don’t worry that you don’t qualify for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan. Instead, you can see if you qualify for a Professional and Career Development Loan. The government will pay the interest while you study and you won’t have to pay anything back until two months after you finish your course. You’ll typically have between 12 months and five years to pay your loan back.

If you want to apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan, you’ll need to do so at least three months before your enrolment date. This is a bank loan that lets you borrow from £300 up to £10,000 at a, typically, reduced interest rate. The government pays this interest while you’re studying. Because this is a bank loan, you will be subject to a credit check.

To find out more and to apply click here >

Know if you're accepted before you apply with QuickCheck

  • Get credit - up to £1,500
  • QuickCheck won’t affect your credit rating
  • Get a fast response in 60 seconds

34.9% APR Representative (variable)
Intelligent Lending Ltd (Credit Broker). Capital One is the exclusive lender

Check Now