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We've gathered a wide range of resources to help you explore the benefits of Higher Education & how to get there.

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Bust some myths

I have to live away from home if I go to uni
  • I have to live away from home if I go to uni
  • 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

For many, university remains a chance to move away from home and to live fully independently for the first time. However, more students are choosing to stay at home and commute.

Having confidence in your choice of course and where to study it remains the number one priority. After which, you can think about your day-to-day living arrangements or commute. At university or college Open Days, it is helpful to speak to current students about how they made their decisions.

An increasing number of 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, it is taken in the second or third year and provides an experience that can help to equip you for the jobs market.

People who have a degree, or an alternative higher education qualification, often 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.

Higher education is also a great opportunity for personal development and gaining a range of transferable skills. While some courses take you directly into a chosen profession, many employers recruit regardless of the choice of degree subject, as they’re often more interested in the transferrable skills you have and how you will apply them.

You can ask universities and colleges about opportunities to gain work experience and what other students who have completed your chosen course have gone on to do.

Your choice of course and where to study is important.  Websites such as UniStats will allow you to compare universities and their courses across a range of criteria.

University isn’t just for 'high-flying' students – but you will be expected to have completed some form of Level 3 study (e.g. BTECs and other Diplomas, or an Advanced Apprenticeship).

There is a huge choice of courses with a variety of different course entry requirements. Also, don’t overlook the alternatives. A Higher National Diploma (HND) or a Foundation Degree are vocational courses that will prepare you for a specific career. These can be studied full-time, at universities or colleges, or as part of a higher or degree apprenticeship.

In a fast-changing jobs market,  there is a strong demand for UK workers with higher-level skills. That means we need more people with Level 4+ qualifications - which include vocational qualifications (such as HNDs and Foundation Degrees), as well as degrees.

Before committing to a higher education course, always take a bit of time to read about which industries have the most demand for higher-level skills. Websites such as UniFrog and UCAS are good starting points.

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.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, just 17% of students will have to pay back everything they have borrowed. How long it takes depends on how much you earn. However, 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."

You do not start repaying anything you have borrowed until you start earning £26,575* or more after you have graduated.

Repayments are taken each month from your salary and are charged at 9% above the £26,575* threshold.

(*correct as of April 2020)



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