Cost has been identified as one of the main factors preventing adults from taking up education and training. Loans can be a viable way of covering cost. They allow individuals to borrow, on favourable conditions, from their future income, in order to finance their own education and training.
This report reviews the use of loans for learning in 33 European countries and analyses the schemes in eight selected Member States: France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Finland, Sweden and the UK. The analysis shows that loan schemes vary considerably across Europe in terms of types and levels of learning covered, conditions of access, repayment and governance.
Loans are assessed by five criteria:
- effectiveness (take-up rates)
- efficiency (default rates and administrative costs)
- impact (impact on beneficiaries; deadweight and substitution effects) and
- sustainability (financial and political).
The report looks also at the experience of non-EU countries in improving their loan schemes and formulates recommendations for European policy and practice.