Going back to University? Courses for Mature Students
Is university worth it for mature students?
Going back to university can seem daunting, and so can studying for a degree for the first time as a mature student, yet with the right support and consideration it can be the perfect way to develop your current and future career.
Even if it is not a strict requirement for your chosen role, having a relevant degree qualification gives you greater choice and flexibility over the types of job roles that you can undertake and can really take your career to the next level. Read on for advice about going back to university as a mature student.
Going back to university part time
As mature students are far more likely to have to take into consideration existing family, work and financial commitments that younger students may not have, they may wonder how they are going to be able to have the time and money to go back to university. If this sounds like you, you should consider embarking on a part-time university degree.
A part-time university degree is one in which students complete a minimum of 25% of the credits of a full time university course per year. It may be more than 25% depending on the course – most universities offer a 50% part time course and some as many as 75% for those who would like an intensive course but cannot quite work at full time capacity.
If you are considering a degree to develop your skills within the career in which you are already working, a 25% or 50% course might be ideal for your needs. It is much more easy for professionals to balance a part-time course alongside their existing job without sacrificing either their education or their ongoing work and professional development.
University courses for mature students with no qualifications
Some professions may accept candidates without degrees for entry level roles, but expect candidates to obtain degree level qualifications in order to progress to more senior positions. This may reflect your situation.
Alternatively, you may wish to change career and are looking for a university course specifically tailored to the requirements of mature students with a focus on professional knowledge and experience.
If you never went to university, but are pursuing a career where a degree would be beneficial or is necessary, don’t despair. University courses are not closed to those without A Level grades. A range of courses that value work experience over academic qualifications are available.
Many of these will accept specific achievements in the workplace in lieu of qualifications, and some will even enable you to use your experience in the industry as credit towards your degree, which accelerates your studies.
Mature student funding and how to obtain it
One of the main concerns that mature students have about going to university is the question of finance and the rising costs associated with university – including tuition fees – and how this is likely to impact their ability to study. Nonetheless, as a mature student you are entitled to funding.
Mature student funding works on the same principles as any kind of student loan. In order to obtain one you must go through Student Finance. Mature student loans are not means-tested, so you can apply for one regardless of your household income. Currently the maximum amount of money that you can borrow for a part time tuition fee loan is £4,625. This money will be paid directly to your university.
You may also be able to secure a maintenance loan for part-time study, but this is means-tested and several factors will be taken into consideration when determining your eligibility, including:
- Your place of residence while studying
- Your household income
- The intensity of your course (how much of your course you complete per year in comparison to a full-time degree course)
As with any student debt, mature student loans become repayable once you have finished the course and are earning more than £21,000 per year. At this point you will start to repay your loan automatically. This is not a complex or time-consuming process, it will simply be deducted from your current salary.
For more information about obtaining a mature student loan and which type of loan is suitable for your situation, search Student Finance England.