Lifelong Learning Entitlement

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement (LLE) will give individuals up to the age of 60 access to a loan that will cover the costs for the equivalent of four years of post-18 study. This can be used over the course of their lifetime.

The loan aims to help people:

  • respond flexibly as skills in the workplace and employment patterns change
  • study, train, retrain and upskill throughout their lives.

The LLE will also support a more flexible approach to study. Students will have the option to draw on funds to study for specific modules as well as full years of study.

This will mean they can space out their studies, transfer credits between providers and have the option to study part-time. 

What does this mean for higher education?

We expect higher education to change as the LLE is introduced and we are considering how our regulation will need to adapt.

Some of the broad ways higher education could change are:

  • providers using the flexibility offered by the LLE to change currently full-time courses into more modular delivery
  • providers using the flexibility offered by the LLE to reshape their current part-time courses
  • providers offering their modules on a standalone basis funded by the LLE
  • providers increasingly offering modules that include many that are not fundable under the LLE
  • providers decreasing (or stopping) offering courses that are currently eligible for funding through Advanced Learner Loans but that the government may decide will not be fundable under the LLE
  • students increasingly studying at more than one provider at the same time
  • students increasingly choosing to transfer between providers to build their modular study into whole qualifications
  • students increasingly studying in different departments, or subject areas, within the same provider
  • students increasingly studying on a modular basis with reduced focus on gaining complete qualifications. 

The OfS's role

The OfS will regulate all providers offering LLE-funded provision. This means that any provider wanting to offer courses funded by the LLE will need to register with us.

Providers applying to register with the OfS can currently register in one of two categories. Courses funded through the LLE will, however, ultimately replace Advanced Learner Provision. To regulate providers that offer this provision we expect to develop a third category of registration.

We are considering the best time to introduce a third registration category, following the Department for Education's decision to extend Advanced Learner Loans until 2027. 

We will also need to adapt our approach to regulation to account for the changes the LLE will bring, including a shift to modular study. To inform this approach we ran a call for evidence on how we could measure student outcomes resulting from this sort of study.

We will develop our regulatory approach in a way that allows providers to make the most of the opportunities, while protecting the interests of students and the taxpayer.

Our regulation of the LLE will have the same aim as our existing regulation: to ensure that higher education is delivering positive outcomes for students.

We will work closely with higher education providers, stakeholders and students in developing our regulatory approach.

What’s happening and when

The LLE is for all courses, including those that are modular. All universities and colleges using the Student Loans Company (SLC) systems will need to make changes to how they present information about their courses for the 2025-26 academic year.

The LLE will be introduced in 2025 for all courses that were previously funded through higher education student finance, and modules of technical courses of clear value to employers.

The government will fund the modules in phases. Funding will be initially available from 2025-26 for:

  • higher technical qualifications
  • some technical Level 4 and 5 qualifications that are currently funded by advanced learner loans.

Students will be able to take out the loan for modular study on these qualifications and courses.

From 2027, the loan will then become available for modules for other Level 4, 5 and 6 qualifications, subject to government decisions about which universities and courses are eligible. Students will be able to take out the loan for modular study on these qualifications and courses.

We will update on OfS work related to the LLE in due course.

Contact details and links

OfS contacts

Further information

If you are a provider and you have queries regarding changes to funding and the finance system as a result of the introduction of the LLE, then please contact your account manager at the Student Loan Company in the first instance if you have one.

DfE qualification eligibility, modular provision and general LLE enquiries 

Related OfS work

Published 27 July 2023
Last updated 08 February 2024
08 February 2024
Contact details and further information links updated.
24 November 2023
DfE has decided to allow longer for higher education providers to prepare for registration in order to access the LLE. Advanced Learner Loan funding will be extended until 2027, and will then be replaced by the LLE. We therefore do not need to create a third category of registration in 2025 and will now consider the best timing for this.
24 November 2023
We have updated the page following the Department for Education's decision to extend Advanced Learner Loans until 2027.
05 October 2023
We have added details of the OfS's role and further information about what is happening and when.

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