To retrain or return to studies as an adult, there are no free to attend courses aside a few basic literacy, numeracy and IT courses that are run by local councils which are still funded by the government. If you are looking into returning to education or a formal training program to retrain for better career prospects, and you feel that you will need government funding for training courses there are still funding out there here in the UK for accredited studies that leads to professional qualifications even for those who have once applied for a student’s loan to study.
It can be hard to get through to an agency that would provide you with an in depth advice on financing adult studies and retraining. In my experience, this is due to often having to go through a careers agency staffed by really young people who do not have a personal experience of the yearning we get suddenly to return to studying as someone in 30’s or 40’s or in your 50’s or the idea of retraining in a completely different field after so many years of working. This leads to receiving very challenging advice that you simply cant progress with.
There are also extra cost involved when you opt to return to studying as an adult which a young careers advisor would not identify with and as such when they provide you details on where and even what type of help is available to you they tend to miss out on relevant sources of assistance regarding this. I stalled my aspiration to return to studying a particular subject for many years whilst I saved towards the course only to suddenly realise that there are study loans available for adults returning to studies who even have a previous student loan.
It has taken me almost 3 years of asking questions from various careers agencies to be able to put together this information to share so you do not find yourself waiting to save up first before pursuing a new career training. You will find below links to relevant articles that explains all the helpful student finance help and assistance you can access to fund both your studies and some types of living expenses that I now know about for adults returning to studying.
The biggest misconception I held on to that held me back for so many years was my own assumption which was based on bad advice I may have received at some point that once I have an existing students loan from my first degree, I would not be able to access any type of funding to study. This is inaccurate as I have now learnt that any person in the position of previous students loan/s can still access a student loan to retrain of study. The criteria would depend on your own personal circumstances. Bear in mind that there different funding bodies, and once you have one type of loan, you can still access a student loan depending on the type of study and the route.
In my own case, I already have a higher education qualification that was funded, I am still repaying this loan I received via the student’s loan company. I could still access funding for a higher education students loan for a post graduate course up to the value of £10000 per year. I also qualify for a loan to fund a further education course between level 3 to level 6. These are often city & guilds, NVQ or VCT etc courses which are diploma’s.
All funding however, are in the form of students loans which are repayable once you complete your course and are working and earning above a certain threshold. Individual cases differs, but every 19+ year old adult can access one type of funding or the other to pursue further studies. I am happy to answer specific questions or assist you to find the right info. the general information on funding is what I have broken down into 3 core areas below:
Money for learning
- Grants for adult learners
- grants and bursaries – these don’t have to be paid back
- Professional and Career Development Loans – reduced interest rate loans and the government pays the interest while you study
- Discretionary Learner Support – for people 19 or over
- Advanced Learning Loans – for people 24 or over
- loans for work-related training from your employer – ask your employer
- Discretionary Learner Support (DLS) on a further education course and facing financial hardship
*accommodation and travel
*course materials and equipment
2. Extra money
- Money you may be entitled to if your course is a higher education course
- Help for travel to study
- Funding from a charitable trust
- Student finance calculator
3. Careers & Training Advice
- the National Careers Service (England)
- My World of Work (Scotland)
- Careers Wales
- Careers Service Northern Ireland
To login into your student finance account, you will need your student finance reference number and password to access details regarding finance you can receive.