Ministers are considering whether to levy VAT on the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan scheme, but FE colleges and non-for-profit providers will be exempt.
Graham Hoyle, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said:
"The large turnout of independent providers at briefing events last week on loans indicates a strong desire to understand the new system properly in order to minimise any potential fall-off in learner numbers.
"There is a concern that the big growth over the last two years in Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships for adults over 24 might cease and actually go into reverse.
"Adding to this concern would be any levying of VAT on loans in relation to independent provider provision as it is independent providers who deliver the great majority of these apprenticeships.
"As the government is championing a growth in Higher Apprenticeships, I hope that early confirmation that VAT will not be levied will be forthcoming from ministers."
Today the Business Secretary Vince Cable announced a new £50 million fund to support mature students with learning difficulties or disabilities, parents who need help with childcare, and ex-military personnel taking out 24+ loans from next year.
Learners taking Access to Higher Education Diploma courses will also be able to apply to the Student Loans Company to write off any outstanding 24+ Advanced Learning Loan on completion of their HE course.
"I strongly believe in the importance of adult learning," Mr Cable said.
“We recognise that some people face financial barriers which is why we are introducing this fund and extra support.
"There are many people who discover an appetite and aptitude for study later on in life and want to pursue a university degree. These measures will support access to HE students who will not incur the cost of two loans to achieve a degree