The benefits of higher education
Higher education could boost your career prospects and earning potential, while giving you the chance to study into a subject that really interests you - and to get involved in lots of other activities.
How do you know if higher education is right for you?
Higher education is about taking your education to the next level - learning new things, being in charge of your choices and getting to where you want to be in the future - whatever stage you are at now, whatever age you are.
Even if no one else you know is thinking about going into higher education, it could still be the right choice for you. You can take a higher education course at a university, higher education college or at some further education colleges.
In the United Kingdom, there are currently around 170 universities and higher education colleges, and over two million higher education students. With more than 50,000 courses in a variety of academic and work-related subjects - including combined courses - there's bound to be one that suits you.
Why go to university or college?
Higher education could benefit you in a number of ways. University or college lets you experience a rich cultural and social scene, meet different people and study something you are really interested in. In terms of career prospects, a higher education qualification can lead to increased earning potential, a wider range of opportunities and a more rewarding career. Many employers target graduates in their recruitment campaigns, and on average, graduates tend to earn more than people with A levels who did not go to university.
What can you study?
Higher education courses range from familiar academic subjects such as English or History, to less familiar ones such as Philosophy and a host of work-related, or vocational, courses like Accountancy. Higher education does not necessarily mean getting an honours degree - you could study a Foundation Degree, a Higher National Certificate or Higher National Diploma, or a Diploma of Higher Education. Many courses are based on units of study or ‘modules’ whith each module letting you earn credits towards your qualification. This approach to study can give you a degree of flexibility over the focus of your studies.
How much is it going to cost?
The cost of being a student varies between different parts of the UK - and so can the length of courses. Financial support is available, so money needn’t be a barrier. The help you can get depends on your family income and the type of course you’re doing.
In this video one young student, who had been put off higher education because she thought she couldn't afford it, tells how she realised going to university was possible.
Students with disabilities
Colleges and universities are continually making themselves more accessible to students with disabilities - as a matter of good practice and to meet legal requirements. If you have a disability or specific learning disability, you may get funding to help with:
- specialist support
- other expenses
- Disability support in higher education (people with disabilities section)
- Financial help for students with disabilities (people with disabilities section)