If you are thinking about going back to university to get a second degree, you need to think about how you are going to fund it. Students who have already been to university and got a degree, whether it was recently or years ago, are not entitled to a loan from Student Finance (with the exception of Nursing and some Healthcare degrees). This applies whether you had a loan previously or not, which means you are going to have to find another way to fund it and at £9,250 a year for the average tuition fees, plus expenses, it is not cheap.
So what happens if you want to change careers and you need to go back to study? At the age of 18 it is unlikely that everyone makes the right choice of subject to study. Not many 18 year olds have such a clear vision of what they want to be or do, so it is not that unusual to find yourself later in life wanting to change direction.
So what are the options open to you?
1. Will your employer sponsor you?
This will obviously depend on whether you are studying to improve your job prospects or change your career. If your employer sees that your desire to study and gain additional qualifications will benefit them, they may well consider sponsoring your studies. Here are some things you could suggest:
• You will gain new skills which can be put to use on the job
• You will be more fulfilled and therefore more productive
• You can take on new responsibilities without them needing to recruit new staff
• You share what you learn with other team members
• You will feel a strong sense of loyalty to the company
2. Professional and Career Development Loans (this scheme is closing in January 2019)
Some students finance their studies by applying for a Professional and Career Development Loan. This can be useful if you are not eligible for student loans. These are different from undergraduate loans in that they are bank loans with stricter payment conditions. You can take out between £300 and £10,000. Loans are usually offered at a reduced rate and the government pays interest while you study. Further information is available here.
3. Private Student Loans
Future Finance is a UK company that provides private Student Loans. The terms are not the same as the Student Loan company, and if you are eligible for Student Loans, that should always be your first choice.
Future Finance is a commercial venture, and you will have to pay back all the money you borrow plus interest, regardless of what you earn when you graduate. However they do offer loans which are designed for students, offering lower capped repayments while you study, repayment breaks and no early repayment fees.
Crowdfunding is basically a way of fundraising online by setting up a fundraising page and asking people to donate towards your education. You will need a compelling reason why people might want to support you but many students have been successful in raising significant amounts towards their studies.
Find out more about crowdfunding here
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5. Scholarships and Bursaries
There are also many scholarships and bursaries available which offer money towards the cost of your studies, which does not have to be paid back. You can search for relevant scholarships and bursaries on our database.
It is unlikely that you will find enough money from scholarships and bursaries to you’re your whole degree, but whatever you do get, will reduce the overall amount you need to raise.
6. Grants from charities and trusts.
There are literally thousands of smaller charities and trusts in the UK which offer grants either for educational or welfare purposes. Each one will have its own specific criteria and you will need to identify those for which you might be eligible.
As part of our member benefits package, you can access an external database of over 3,500 charities and trusts which offer educational related grants or you can find them in the “Guide to Educational Grants”, a book which can be found in most reference libraries.
Funds4Uni is a unique partnership between The Scholarship Hub and easyfundraising which allows students to fundraise for their studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate level without it costing their supporters a penny.
Free donations are made by retailers to support your education, every time one of your supporters – family and friends – shops online via Funds4Uni. This scheme can be used to save towards your university expenses, help relieve some of the costs while you are there, or pay towards your loans once you’ve finished. Find out more and sign up here.
8. Additional grants from the government
There are a number of grants still available to students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level for specific needs such as a disability, or if you have dependents. Make sure you know what is available in case you are eligible for anything specific.