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Adult Learners (19+)

Looking to return to education or change your career path?

Talk to expert advisors who can provide general advice about being an adult learner as well as discussing your options to help you make an informed decision about your future.


Get in touch

Get in touch today to get support with:

  • One-to-one advice and guidance about courses
  • Advice on Student Finance for adult learners e.g. childcare costs and transport
  • Information on student life e.g. study skills, workload and assessments
  • UCAS applications

If you’re a mature applicant seeking guidance, please click here for more information.

For upcoming events and activities dedicated towards mature learners, please click here.

You can also visit The Gateway for expert advice from university staff, or alternatively ask any questions to the Aspire to HE team via our Contact Us page.

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Your questions answered

An adult learner or mature student refers to anyone involved in education and training once they have completed their initial education.

An adult learners at college is classed as a student who is aged 19 and over.

An adult learner at university is classed as somebody starting their degree at the age of 21 or over. Over 40% of students at the University of Wolverhampton are adult learners.

Most full-time courses involve no more than 12 to 16 hours each week in class (although nursing, social work and teaching courses will demand more of your time). You can arrange the study you’ll need to do outside the classroom around your own commitments. Many universities also have childcare facilities, and you can apply for a means-tested childcare grant from Student Finance England which you will not have to repay.”

More information: Student Finance England – Childcare Grant

Funding your studies may seem complicated at first, but we’ve put together some information to help make things clear. A degree is a great investment in your future, but it’s important to take the time to find out about the cost of living and studying, so you know what to expect.

You can apply for help towards the costs of university. If it is your first degree, you will not have to pay anything up-front and your tuition fees are paid by Student Finance England directly to your university. Everyone is entitled to a maintenance loan to help cover the costs of living (food, books, transport, rent etc.) and how much you get will depend on your household income.

Find out more about Student Finance here

Many students choose to live at home while they study in order to save money, or to be with their families. Some mature students do choose to live in university accommodation and many universities have a great variety of halls, including specially designated flats for mature learners.

Universities and colleges provide comprehensive support for mature students to get back into learning or to progress their current studies. This includes support and guidance before you apply, to help you choose the right course for you, and in-course support from a dedicated personal tutor or mentor. You can also access comprehensive careers advice and guidance, whilst you’re a student and after you graduate.

As a mature student, your life and work experience may mean that there are alternative entry routes available to you other than formal qualifications, for example, a validated access course and the Access to Higher Education Diploma. You could also use an alternative entry scheme to demonstrate your readiness for university study, or apply for a foundation course. Specific entry criteria can be found on university websites.

The UCAS website is the centralised service where all students can apply for university. It offers a variety of support and information relating to various universities, different courses, assisting with your application, and comparing your top choices to find the perfect combination for you!

Most students are able to work alongside their course. How much you can work will depend on the type of course you’re studying, your mode of attendance (if you are studying full-time or part-time) and the type of work you plan to undertake. For the majority of undergraduate degree programmes you can expect to be at university two or three days a week. However, some students may need to spend more time on-campus to use specialist facilities for independent project work, such as laboratory space, library, and art studios.

If you are considering studying a Nursing programme, or another professional health care course, it is recommended that you do not undertake additional work, or that this is kept to a minimum.

Most university courses look for level 3  (like A Levels or BTECs) and level 2 (GCSEs) qualifications.

If you are worried about not having the right formal qualifications, or if you’ve been out of the education system for a while, you can consider a foundation year course or you could study for an Access to Higher Education Diploma. Offered at colleges across the country, the Diploma allows you to choose from a variety of subjects depending on what you want to study at university.

Many universities also offer 4 year degrees in some subjects, which include a Foundation Year, for those who do not meet the entry requirements to go straight onto a degree. There are a range of Foundation Year courses and these are usually considered as year zero courses (level 3), giving you the opportunity to progress on to undergraduate degree courses.

Got more questions? Why not chat to a current student at the University of Wolverhampton on Unibuddy 

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Further useful resources

  • Student Finance Overview and Myth Busters

    We understand that going to university is a significant investment in your future. Here is information on the range of financial options available to you.

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