As college students sit their all-important final exams and university life beckons for some, it’s easy to think that next term’s freshers will be your average eighteen year old. However, there are increasing numbers of adult students joining these courses having financed their Access to Higher Education Diploma, Level 3 or Level 4 courses with a 24+ loan.

Andover College is celebrating Adult Learners’ Week to encourage mature learners to consider a return to education in order to realise their dream of achieving their personal career goals, including going to university.

Course fees can be covered by 24+ loans (for eligible people) which means there are no upfront costs and the loans only have to be paid back once they are earning over £21,000 per year. Better still, if they are an Access to Higher Education student the loan doesn’t have to be paid back if the student goes on to Higher Education and completes a degree.

Food Science undergraduate Andrea Hawkesby attributes the 24+ loan to her securing a place at Bath Spa University. Having left school at 17 to pursue a career in office work and catering, the death of her father proved the catalyst in realising her dream of taking a degree. The horse meat scandal and an intrigue in food testing led Andrea to Andover College to study the Science pathway of the Access course.

Andrea said: “I always wanted to do a degree but career, family life and other distractions just seemed to get in the way. The 24+ loan definitely made it possible for me to finance the Access course which in turn made it possible to go to University. My interest is in food science so I am studying BSc (Hons) Food with Nutrition which will ultimately lead me to a career in Environmental Health.”

24+ loans are open to anyone over the age of 24 whether unemployed, employed, already in training, or in further education. They are proving ideal for those people who left school without the qualifications or the desire to go to University. Parents returning to education to re-train, people leaving military service, or those inspired to take a different direction in life can all benefit from a 24+ loan (subject to eligibility).

Adult Learners’ Week is a national celebration of lifelong learning; the biggest in England. The Week is now in its 24th year inspiring Adult Learners’ Week celebrations across the world.