If you decided to remain in education beyond 16 it may be because you are hoping to go on to higher education.  This may be because the career you are hoping to enter requires you to go to university.   It could be because you would like the opportunity to study a subject further / in more detail.  It might be that you are not sure what you want to do and feel that going to higher education will allow the chance to develop your skills / confidence whilst keeping your options open.

Although most people think higher education as going off to university many courses are offered at other institutions such as higher education colleges, specialist colleges e.g. art or agriculture.  Some colleges of further education now offer degree courses working in conjunction with local universities. Higher education courses are usually come in the form of a degree, BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) or Foundation Degree.

Higher education courses are those which usually lead to qualifications at level 5 or above.  A HND and Foundation Degree are level 5 qualifications and a degree is at level 6.

A full time degree will take at least 3 years, most are for 3 to 4 years but some e.g. medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and architecture can be 5 / 6 years.  It is possible to do a part time degree but this will take longer that 3 / 4 years. HNDs and Foundation Degrees are normally 2 years long and can be used to continue onto a degree, often into the second year, if it is a related subject.

Another possibility could be an Open University qualification, where you study at home in your own time using distance learning packages.

The cost of university 

Recently universities have been the ability to charge up to £9,250 per year for course fees. This doesn’t include accommodation and other costs associated with being a student. The average cost of a student studying and working away for three years is £53,330*. Don’t let the cost put you off, there are ways you can reduce the cost and you don’t have to pay up front or all in one go.

Many people commute to university to help keep fees down and could reduce their overall expenditure by over £18,000. Many students also have a part time job which helps to reduce the amount they need to rely upon student finance. Dependent upon the level of the course and also the subject, grant and other financial support may also be available to help reduce the overall cost.

When it comes to repaying your student loan you only need to begin repaying your student loan when you start earning over £21,000, at 9% of your income. You can find more information about student loans here.


You may find the following website useful.

* thisismoney.co.uk