The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has given more details of its plans to extend FE loans, as announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget.

He said loans would be made available to level three and four learners aged 19 to 23, and to level five and six learners aged 19 and above.

“The extension of loans, which we plan to implement from the 2016/17 academic year, does not affect the duty on the Secretary of State to ensure that learning for a first full qualification at level three should be free for 19 to 23-year-olds,” a BIS spokesperson told FE Week.

A spokesperson for the Student Loans Company (SLC) said implementation of the FE loans expansion was “progressing well”.

“SLC is confident that application and payment systems will be in place for those starting courses next September,” they said.

The spokesperson was unable to confirm when the system would be open for applications.

A spokesperson for the Association of Colleges said: “It is important that these loans are properly administered to provide additional support for students.”

Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said: “We need to understand the details of how the loan facility will be extended to the new groups.”

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