Is it Time to Go (Back) to Uni?
Most of the articles we post here on MoneyGlass.co.uk are about ways to make money on the side, often as an active or passive side hustle. But at the root of it all, what we’re looking at here are ways to increase your income, so that you can have a better life.
When you’re young and starting out, University is generally touted as the best way to get an education that will lead to a well-paid career. The problem is, young adults are often clueless as to what they want to do with themselves and the degrees they choose are either not the type of degrees anyone needs, or they fail to put in the academic effort to be the top of the pack. From that point on, the chances are you’ve got a career in retail or an office ahead of you.
For young adults planning to head to further or higher education, please think carefully about the courses you are considering. They are going to take a financial toll on you for decades to come, assuming you require the aid of the Student Loans Company (SLC). Try to ensure that your chosen degree will give you a skill set that is highly in demand. Many courses will lead you somewhere in life if you get the grades. Nurses and Doctors, Accountants, Architects, Engineering and Computer related topics are all great examples of courses where there will be a job practically waiting for you at the end. Whilst many other deeply interesting degrees are out there, think about the level of competition and how big is the pool of available jobs.
It’s never too late to go to university
For mature students, there are many traditional brick-and-mortar universities now offering online-only courses, such as Derby University. And of course, if you’ve not heard of the Open University then you have probably been living under a rock.
The great advantage of online degrees is that you can study in your own time, at home. You can study when the kids are at school or in bed, and before or after work.
If you’ve never had a degree with Student funding, then it doesn’t matter how long ago it was that you went to school, you will be eligible to pick any degree course that takes your fancy and apply. Your Student Loan will pay the tuition fees and you only begin to pay these back once you earn over the threshold, which at the time of writing this article stands at £27,248 per year.
When you do repay, it will come straight out of your pay packet, so you will barely feel it. If the degree lifts you up from the drudgery of minimum wages and into s £27k+ job, that’s totally worth it.
But I already had a funded degree
If you have already had a funded degree from the SLC, don’t worry, all is not lost. Due to shortages in various industries, there is a list of degree subjects that will allow you to get another round of funding, regardless of how many other degrees you’ve picked up already.
You do need to bear in mind that multiple degrees will result in a larger monthly repayment of your Student Loan, once you land that dream job, so check the maths is right for you.
Presently, this is the list of degrees that will allow you to go back to University, courtesy of the SLC.
- BA (Honours) Environmental Studies
- BA (Honours) Geography
- Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
- BSc (Honours) Biology
- BSc (Honours) Chemistry
- BSc (Honours) Combined STEM
- BSc (Honours) Computing and IT
- BSc (Honours) Computing and IT (Communications and Networking)
- BSc (Honours) Computing and IT (Communications and Software)
- BSc (Honours) Computing and IT (Software)
- BSc (Honours) Cyber Security
- BSc (Honours) Data Science
- BSc (Honours) Environmental Science
- BSc (Honours) Environmental Science (Environmental Management)
- BSc (Honours) Forensic Psychology
- BSc (Honours) Geography and Environmental Science
- BSc (Honours) Geology
- BSc (Honours) Health Sciences
- BSc (Honours) Healthcare and Health Science
- BSc (Honours) Mathematics
- BSc (Honours) Mathematics and its Learning
- BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics
- BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Statistics
- BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences
- BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences (Astronomy and Planetary Science)
- BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences (Biology)
- BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences (Chemistry)
- BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences (Earth Sciences)
- BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences (Environmental Science)
- BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences (Physics)
- BSc (Honours) Physics
- BSc (Honours) Psychology
- BSc (Honours) Psychology with Counselling
- BSc (Honours) Social Psychology
- BSc (Honours) Sport, Fitness and Coaching
- Master of Engineering
- Master of Environmental Science
- Top-up Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
- Top-up BSc (Honours) Computing and IT Practice
Many of these degrees are hot right now, such as Cyber Security, with companies chasing eligible graduates. All of the degrees here fall under the STEM list (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths.
What about becoming a teacher?
Finally, there is the popular option of teaching. If you hold a degree in a relevant topic and have an aptitude for working with people, you might consider teaching. It’s hard work, especially in the training years. Many courses offer tuition loans, but several courses in secondary education offer a bursary – meaning you don’t have to pay the money back upon qualification.
- Chemistry – Bursary amount of £24,000
- Computing – Bursary amount of £24,000
- Mathematics – Bursary amount of £24,000
- Physics – Bursary amount of £24,000
- Languages – Bursary amount of £10,000
- Biology – Bursary amount of £7,000
Is it for you?
Take some time to consider your options. Pop over to the Open University and check out their prospectus if the idea of a new degree appeals to you. If you are interested in going the teacher route and already hold a degree, check online with Get into Teaching which will guide you through the process of applying and obtaining funding.
It is one that I strongly recommend. Teaching was not for me. Although I loved getting up in front of a class of teens and interacting with them, the workload for training far exceeded what I could personally manage whilst also attempting to be with my small family (3 kids!) but I am signed up for the BSc Cyber Security degree with the OU, beginning this October, and I’m raring to go!
How much time will I need to study at home?
Most OU modules need about 5-10 hours per week of study, although if you are already quite knowledgeable about the topic, this can be much shorter. The degree itself will take you between 3 years (120 credits per year, usually 4 modules), 6 years if you opt to study only two modules per year, or longer if you want to just take your time.
What do I gain by going to an online university?
The biggest thing you gain by studying online is the complete ability to decide when and where you are going to study. If you want to skip a week and work harder next week, you can. This makes it ideal for fitting around work and family.
What do I lose by going to an online university?
Going to a physical university is great fun. you’ll meet a lot of new people and have a lot of experiences that you just won’t do later in life. That said, you need to get up and go to your lectures each day and put in the effort at the right time to maximise your potential.