Study loans ease pain

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CAREER development loans can be a good of way of learning a new skill without being financially crippled during the period of study, writes Caroline Merrell.

Such loans have been on offer for six years from Barclays Bank, which recently awarded its 50,000th loan. They are also available from two other banks, the Co-operative and Clydesdale.

People who take out loans do not have to start paying them back immediately on completion of their course.

If they go straight into employment, they start repaying the loan one month after they finish the course. Otherwise, they have an additional five months' grace before the repayments start.

Repayments are made over a maximum of five years after the period of study. The interest on the loan is paid by the Government while the course is running.

After that, the interest on the loan is levied at Barclays' normal interest rate of 18.5 per cent.

Applicants are able to borrow from pounds 200 to pounds 8,000 to fund courses of up to two years, or to pay for two years of a much longer course.

Barclays said that it interviewed everyone who applied for a career development loan and that 84 per cent of applicants were granted loans.

A Barclays spokeswoman said: 'We may exclude people who have a bad track record in debt. We need to make sure they can repay the loan, and they are committed to completing the course. '

She said: 'The most common need for a career development loan is for business and commercial courses. The second most common is when people want to improve their driving skills.'

She said they would consider applications from people who were considering almost any type of course. 'The seventh most common reason to apply for a career development loan is for flying occupations.'

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