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Aiming Higher Together

WHAT IS HIGHER EDUCATION? Higher education covers a range of qualifications from Higher National Diplomas/Certificates and Foundation Degrees to Bachelors Degrees. The most common type of course is a Bachelors Degree. Usually people will study one of these qualifications after they have been to sixth form or college and completed A levels or a BTEC Extended Diploma, but there is no age limit to study higher education. Most people study at a University, but you can also study some courses in a Further Education College.


Higher education qualifications can lead to all kinds of exciting opportunities. There are many benefits of higher education, but these can be broadly broken down into two categories: improved career options and the opportunity to experience student life. CAREER AND FINANCIAL BENEFITS


• On average graduates (people who have completed a higher education course) earn £160,000 more over their lifetime than non-graduates.

• Learn more about a subject you are passionate about, or discover something brand new!

• G raduates have access to a wider range of opportunities and higher paid jobs. • G raduates may be able to ‘fast track’ within a profession such as the Army or the Police. • Certain professions require a degree in a particular subject e.g. doctor, pharmacist. • For some careers having a higher education qualification is essential although it doesn’t always matter which subject this is in e.g. teacher, lawyer, accountant. • For many employers it doesn’t matter what you have studied, it’s the skills you have developed which are important. These are called transferable skills and cover things like teamwork, communication, presentation skills and independent learning.

• Have the opportunity to meet new people from all over the world, from different cultures and backgrounds. • Try out something new in your spare time with one of the many clubs and societies you can join, for example learn a new language or even skydive! • Increase your confidence and independence and experience living away from home and in a new town or city. • Travel or gain work experience – many higher education courses allow you to study abroad or complete a work placement. • Develop your transferable skills by volunteering or working part time alongside your studies. • Study in a way that suits you – most courses are full time but some courses can be studied part time, alongside work or via distance learning.

DID YOU KNOW? • Higher education is very different to school! You don’t have to wear a uniform and there are no bells at the end of lessons. • Lessons are usually made up of lectures (lots of students in a room, sometimes 200!) and seminars (small groups where discussions take place); although your timetable will vary depending on what and where you study. • Some courses involve performances or practical elements such as lab work. • Most courses are 3 years long and there are over 40,000 different courses to choose from! These range from traditional subjects such as English, Law or Medicine to Video Games Design, Music Production or Sports Science. • Most courses will want you to have a good range of GCSEs (or equivalent) and often a minimum of a grade C in English and Maths – so even in year 10 and 11 what you do at school will have an impact on the choices you can make in the future. • Some people choose to move to a new town or city to study whilst others decide to live at home and study locally. Most students who move away from home will live in a Halls of Residence (accommodation owned by a university) in their first year with other students.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO NOW? The steps below will help you work out some of the key questions and decisions you need to think about depending on what year group you are in. If you have a career in mind or know what you want to study, it’s a good idea to start with this and work your way backwards. If you don’t know what you want to do in the future, there’s no need to panic, this leaflet can help you start to think about this.




• Think about what you enjoy and what you’re good at. • Explore new and different subjects.


• Start thinking about what subjects you’d like to study for GCSE. You will be picking your options in either year 8 or 9. Pick courses YOU enjoy and/or are good at. • Talk to your teachers and family – but remember it’s YOUR choice.

ACTION: Are there any GCSE subjects you need for the higher education course you want to study? Check on www.ucas. com and institution’s websites.

• You may be starting your GCSEs and taking mock exams. Try your best but don’t worry too much if you don’t do as well as you’d like – you still have time to improve. • Start thinking about what you’d like to do in the future. You may have the chance to go on a university visit and get work experience, these will help you in your decision-making process.

ACTION: Is there work experience or voluntary experience you can get which links to the career you have in mind?




• Your final year at school will be busy with exams- make sure you start revising early and create a revision planner. • You will need to decide what to do next – visit local colleges/sixth forms to see where you’d like to go. • Think about the subjects you want to continue with in the future.

ACTION: Find out what subjects and qualifications are best for the higher education course or career you are interested in. Some courses will require you to take certain subjects and types of qualifications.

This is your first year at sixth form or college and you’ll be starting the courses you’ve chosen to study. You should also be preparing to apply to higher education: • Research courses and institutions. • Visit Open Days and UCAS Fairs. • Find out about the higher education application process (visit • Try and get relevant work experience or do some volunteering. • Do you have enough relevant experience and things to talk about for your UCAS personal statement? If not, it’s not too late to do something about it!

ACTION: Start to work on your personal statement – this is a very important part of the application process.



In your final year at sixth form or college you will be completing your higher education application early in the year – so be prepared! • Register on the UCAS website (note your username and password). • Make sure you know your school/ college deadline for applying (this will be much earlier than the UCAS deadline). • Double check course details and entry requirements BEFORE applying. • Try to attend visit days at the institution when they make you an offer. • Respond within the deadlines set by UCAS or the institutions you have applied to. • Apply for Student Finance and accommodation (if applicable) early.

ACTION: Remember your results this year will be important so work hard! Plan your exam revision and keep on top of any coursework.

You may qualify for grants, bursaries or scholarships.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT STUDENT FINANCE? The cost of higher education will vary depending on where you study and where you decide to live whilst you study. Whilst it is not cheap, you should remember the long term financial and career benefits. There are two main costs of higher education: 1. What it will cost you to study (called Tuition Fees) 2. Everyday living costs while you are a student (called Maintenance Costs)

TUITION FEES Since 2012 universities and colleges have been able to charge up to £9,000 per year for full time students. However you don’t have to pay this up front – every UK student, irrespective of their financial situation, is entitled to a loan to cover the tuition fees (called a Tuition Fee Loan). This loan goes directly to the institution you are studying at so you do not have to worry about remembering to pay your fees. You do not start repaying this loan until you are earning – see repayment section below for further information.

Everyone can get a loan from the government to help with living costs.

MAINTENANCE COSTS Full time students are also entitled to a loan from the government (called a Maintenance Loan) to cover part of their living costs. This money comes direct to you, so you can decide how to spend it and it can help you pay for accommodation, living expenses, food, books, travel and leisure costs. This is based on your household income, but every student is entitled to something. Again, this is not repaid until you start earning – see repayment section below for further information. There are other forms of financial support that you may be entitled to (called grants, scholarships or bursaries) which you do NOT have to repay: Bursaries and Scholarships These are non-repayable grants awarded by universities and colleges. The majority of these are based on household income, but as universities and colleges award these you may be entitled to different amounts depending on which institution or course you choose. In addition some will offer financial awards to students based on academic achievement (e.g. excellent A level or BTEC grades) which may not be related to family income. These will also vary between institutions and may only apply to certain courses. Full details of the support at each institution can be found at or on their individual websites.

 ou do not have to pay Y your fees upfront – you will be entitled to a loan to cover the cost.

Additional Support There is also extra financial support available for disabled students, students with mental health conditions or specific learning difficulties, students who have children, students with caring responsibilities and students who have been in local authority care. See www. for the most up to date information.

REPAYMENT OF LOANS Your Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan are combined together into a single amount to be repaid. Loan repayments are linked to your earnings and not on how much you have borrowed. Graduates will not start repaying their loan until they are earning over £21,000 per year, and then they will pay 9% of what they earn over this. This payment comes straight out of your pay packet each month but if your earnings drop below this level for any reason repayments stop until you start earning above this amount again. The loan is written off after 30 years regardless of how much you have paid by this time. For up-to-date information on Student Finance visit: or studentfinance You do not have to start repaying your loans until you are earning over £21,000.

HIGHER EDUCATION GLOSSARY Campus – the area where a university or college is based FE (Further Education) – this is the type of study you do after GCSES at a sixth form or a college, such as A levels or a BTEC National Diploma Graduate – the title given to someone when they complete their higher education course Grant – money given to students from low income families which is NOT paid back Halls of Residence – Accommodation owned by universities where most first year students live Institution – the place where you study, this could be a university or a further education college. Lecture – lesson where teaching staff talk to a large group of students about their subject

WHERE CAN I STUDY HIGHER EDUCATION IN GREATER MANCHESTER? Ashton Sixth Form College University of Bolton Bolton College Bury College Holy Cross College Hopwood Hall College The University of Manchester The Manchester College Manchester Metropolitan University Royal Northern College of Music University of Salford Salford City College Stockport College Tameside College Trafford College University Campus Oldham Wigan and Leigh College

Loan – money you can borrow from the government to fund your higher education studies that you pay back as you earn Personal Statement – this forms part of your UCAS application and is where you set out why you want to study that course and what relevant skills, experience and ability you have Postgraduate – type of study that you can do after your undergraduate studies such as a Masters or Doctorate (also known as a PhD) Seminar – lesson where students discuss the subject with their teacher in small groups UCAS – this stands for ‘Universities and Colleges Admissions Service’ and is the organisation which handles the majority of student applications Undergraduate – the general name given to people studying for their first degree Undergraduate Degree – the usual qualification you get from 3 years full time study in higher education Useful Websites

Greater Manchester Higher IAG Leaflet  
Greater Manchester Higher IAG Leaflet