Whether you are thinking about a career change, retraining, upskilling or learning something completely new, a degree could be the key to transforming your future.

Education and study can open up a range of new and exciting opportunities - and the University of Cumbria has a long history of supporting students on their individual journey, whether they're fresh out of secondary school or a mature student.

Getting your degree can help your career development, personal development and growth. It's never too late to start at university. We still have places available for September 2018, so you can get started right away.

Find my course

What is a mature student?

A mature student is anyone who is over 21 when they start their course. Over 60% of our undergraduate students studying full and part-time courses are mature students.

As a mature student, you may be worried about whether you have the right qualifications, how you will juggle studying with work, family and other commitments, and how you will manage financially.

Don’t worry, you are not alone! Each year, thousands of people are considering taking the same steps as you to pursue new opportunities and start their journey into higher education. Our staff will be there to support you every step of the way.

The challenges of being a mature student

Mature students can face unique challenges when compared to other students. Real-life commitments such as family and work can impact on your study. In the second of our panel sessions, Becky, Emma and Louise discuss some of the challenges of being a mature student and how the university can support students with those issues.

What's it like being a mature student?

What's it like being a mature student? In the first of our sessions with Becky, Emma and Louise, we find out what Louise's thoughts are on her course so far. Students come in all ages, so if you're thinking of returning to education, there's a place for you at Cumbria.

Choosing your course

Selecting the right course is the first important choice you face in your HE journey. The courses we offer are as varied as those who study them.

Having a clear idea of the value you will get from your course will help you focus on what’s right for you. Even if you are unsure what to study, researching what is on offer can really inspire you and help inform your decision.

To help you decide you can search our courses or take our quiz to find the course for you.

What are the benefits of studying at UoC?

Frequently asked questions

What qualifications do I need?

The route you take into university as a mature student will be unique to you.

There are many pathways into higher education, some of the most common qualifications for progressing on to a degree are:

  • Access to HE diploma
  • Work-based qualifications
  • Professional qualifications
  • A-levels
  • BTEC qualifications
  • International Baccalaureate
  • European Baccalaureate
  • Irish Leaving Certificate
  • Scottish Advanced Highers
  • Accreditation of Prior Learning

However, our admissions team assess each application considering the individuals experience and ability alongside your educational qualification.

Mature students often have a range of other qualities such as transferable and organisational skills, life experience, commitment and motivation to study.

Can I afford it?

Tuition fee loans

In England everyone is entitled to a tuition fee loan for their first full-time undergraduate course. The tuition fee loan is paid directly to the university by the Student Loan Company (SLC) and you don't have to repay it until after you graduate, when you are earning over £25,000.

You may also be entitled to a tuition fee loan if you study part-time or postgraduate level. Check out our finance pages for more details.

You can find out more about mature student funding on the government website.

Financial advice

We have a dedicated Money Advice Team on hand to help with any queries you may have. We also offer financial support through our Bursary scheme and you may be eligible for help with some of the costs of your cost, for example a free uniform or help with travel costs.

You may also be entitled to extra help with your learning costs. This can include help towards childcare costs, dependants’ grants and additional support for disabled students.

How will it affect my life balance?

No one pretends studying is easy at any stage of life and it can be difficult to manage if you have other commitments as well as your degree course. Students at the University of Cumbria can access personal tutors and mentors to help provide support and a friendly ear. There are regular mature student events on campus to give you the opportunity to meet other students in the same situation and feel part of the student community.

We also run activities before you start at university to help you with the study skills you will need to be successful on your course.

It's been a while since I've studied - will I be able to cope?

Head Start

We provide a free online course called Head Start which will introduce you to the key skills you'll need to develop to be successful on your journey. It includes modules on how to learn, academic skills and your digital capabilities.

The benefit of this distance-learning course is that you can complete it at your own pace, and in your own time, allowing you to make sure that you have completely understood before moving on to a new topic.

Students who have completed Head Start said that they felt more prepared and confident about starting their course.

Head Start

More questions?

If you have any more questions about studying at the University of Cumbria or life as a mature student, get in touch! Our friendly staff are here to help.

Phone: 0845 606 1144
Email: enquirycentre@cumbria.ac.uk 

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