Everything in One Place
We've gathered a wide range of resources to help you explore the benefits of higher education and how to get there.Take a look
Bust some myths
- I have to leave home and live in halls of residence
- Uni doesn’t offer ‘hands-on’ work experience
- I won't get a job or a good salary after uni
- I won’t get the grades to go to university
- There's too many graduates and not enough jobs
- I can only go to university if I like academic subjects like Maths and English
- I will always be paying my student loan off
- I won’t be able to afford to make my student loan repayments
University provides an opportunity to move away from home and to live independently for the first time. However, it's your choice.
Around 1:6 students now choose to study locally and commute and there's lots of great higher education options across Greater Manchester.
But make your number one priority to identify the right course for you. Explore different subjects and where these might lead career-wise. Be confident about your choice.
After which, you can weigh-up where to live. The choice of moving away or living at home will influence the amount of student finance support you receive.
Use University or College Open Days to speak to current students about how and why they made their decisions.
Degree or Higher Apprenticeships are great options if you are already confident of the career that you wish to pursue. These provide on-the-job experience and a higher education qualification and what’s more, there are no tuition fees.
However, an increasing number of full-time university or college degree courses offer work experience. These are often known as ‘Years in Industry’ or ‘Sandwich Degrees.’ These courses provide an opportunity to spend a year working in an industry related to your course. Usually taken in either Year 2 or Year 3 of the degree, they can also provide you with experience to equip you for the jobs market.
Typically, people who have a degree go on to earn more over the course of their lifetime when compared to those who leave education at age 18. They are also less likely to experience periods of unemployment.
But your choice of course, choice of university and the result of your degree can all be factors that can affect your future earnings.
However, don’t make your decisions based on earnings alone. Higher Education is about your personal development, new experiences and gaining a range of transferable skills which will serve you well in the long term.
And while some courses take you directly into a profession, many employers recruit regardless of the choice of degree subject, as they’re often more interested in the skills you have developed and how you will apply them.
It's expected that competition for university places will increase in the years ahead, due to increased demand from both sixth form and college leavers and adult learners. UCAS predicts that there could be 1 million applicants by 2026 - that's double the number compared to 2006.
All sixth form and college leavers are expected to have completed some form of Level 3 study (e.g., A-levels, BTECs, T-levels or an Advanced Apprenticeship). There are over 35,000 different higher education courses listed on UCAS. Each course comes with its own set of entry requirements which include the grades they expect you to achieve from those Level 3 qualifications. If you think you might just fall short of achieving these grades, always talk to that college or university first before you rile it out.
More young people are now looking at some of the alternatives to studying full-time for a degree at university.
Higher Technical Qualifications, such as a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a Foundation Degree, offer more practical learning and are employer-led programmes.
Higher or Degree Apprenticeships offer options to go to work and be paid but to also spend 20% of your time studying for a higher education qualification.
As we start to emerge from the COVID pandemic, there will be even greater demand across the UK for workers who have higher-level skills. By this, we mean people with Level 4+ qualifications.
In the years ahead, expect to see more higher education qualifications that are vocational, and which provide alternatives to undergraduate degrees. These will be directly linked to job roles which are in demand.
You can use Labour Market Information to explore which occupations will be in most demand in the future. Websites such as Bridge GM can help.
You can study almost anything that interests you and it doesn’t have to be all academic-based. Courses can be practical, theory-based, creative – or a complete mixture.
If you like the sound of a course, take some extra time to gather information and find out more:
- What is the content of the course?
- How is it assessed?
- How many achieve a ‘strong’ pass mark?
- What have students who have completed the course gone on to do?
Always be prepared to ask the questions that matter to you at University and College Open Days.
Only the very highest earners will repay all their student loans – around 20% of all students. After 30 years, the student loan will be wiped completely regardless of how much you still have left to pay.
Martin Lewis from moneysavingexpert.com says:
“What you repay solely depends on what you earn after university. In effect, this is financially a ‘no win no fee’ education. Those who earn a lot after leaving university will repay a lot. Those who don’t gain too much financially from going to university will repay little or nothing."
Changes to these rules are due come into effect for anyone starting a higher education course from September 2023 onwards.
You do not start repaying anything you have borrowed until you start earning £25,000* or more after you have graduated.
Repayments are taken each month from your salary and are charged at 9% above the £25,000* threshold.
The repayment term has been extended from 30 years to 40 years.
Read Martin Lewis's view on the changes here.
(*correct as of August 2022)
Let us help you answer those big questions...
What are my higher education options?
Take a look at the variety of qualifications and courses you can take after finishing Level 3.
Which Uni 4 me?
Universities and further education colleges come in all shapes and sizes and there are plenty of factors to consider when making your choice.
Higher education costs money, but everyone is entitled to some form of financial support, so money should not be a deciding factor in choosing whether or not to study higher education.
What other learners have to say...
“…I think this has really helped me because the area that I live in, not many people do go to university and it’s quite a deprived area and I think this opportunity has really helped me to have the insights on what I can do w...Michelle
Uni:4U summer schools 2019Read Michelles story
“The skills I’ve gained from this programme are things like social skills, communication… I’ve enjoyed most, getting to know people because I’ve never been in a place where everyone likes the same things and has a...Nick
Uni:4U summer schools 2019Read Nicks story
The Higher Education Thesaurus
Money awarded by a university/college that does not have to be repaid. Given as a result of strong Level 3 grades, or acknowledged personal circumstances.
The grounds and buildings where a university or college is based.
Further Education (FE)
The compulsory study that is taken at age 16+ (after your GCSEs) e.g., A-Levels or BTECs.
Awarded when you complete your undergraduate studies – which typically takes three years.
Each university or college course will make an 'ask' of you – around sitting certain qualifications or achieving certain grades. If you are worried that you may not meet the exact requirements, always speak to the university/college first.
The title you receive when you complete your higher education course.
Halls of Residence
Purpose-built accommodation, owned by universities or privately owned, popular with first-year students.
Higher Education (HE)
Optional study that is taken from age 18+, after completing Level 3 qualifications (e.g., A-Levels, BTECs).
Information, advice and guidance.
The name of the university, college or private company where you will study.
A presentation in front of a large gathering of students where the key principles or concepts of a topic will be given.
Money that can be borrowed from the government to cover your tuition fees and living costs.
An important part of your UCAS application. Your opportunity to describe your ambitions, skills and experience.
Additional study that can be taken after you complete your undergraduate studies (typically from age 21+). Qualifications include a Masters or a Doctorate (also known as a PhD).
Money awarded by a university/college, or a business or a charity, that does not have to be repaid. Often to recognise academic achievements, showing excellence in a particular field (e.g., music, sport); or overcoming adversity.
A small class, typically a follow-up to a lecture, where students can discuss topics in more detail.
A group of people with shared interests, who form a social club, usually with help from their Student Union.
An organisation, found in all universities and colleges, that is run by students for students. Often the hub for social activities. Also provides support on academic and welfare issues.
Either a small group meeting or individual meeting, with an academic member of staff.
‘Universities and Colleges Admissions Service’. The organisation which manages applications to study full-time at a university or college.
UCAS Tariff Points
A system, used by some universities and colleges, for course entry requirements.
Courses for those who are studying higher education for the first time. The most common being an undergraduate (Bachelor’s) degree.
The most common way, at age 18+, to study for a higher education qualification. Ask about the number of ‘contact hours’ for your chosen courses before you apply.
An option for many courses and popular with those returning to education after a break (e.g., those with parenting responsibilities).
A choice to study online and remotely. You can learn at your own pace.
Not all courses offer this, so it is always better to check.
On-the-job learning, supported by university and college tutors.