Adult education Theres no age limit to learning at Leicester

Charlotte Barratt works in the Widening Participation team at the University of Leicester: "I work mainly with mature students: My work involves encouraging people over the age of 21 to come to university, to highlight their options and to try and encourage them to come and join us as we do have a growing community of mature students here."

Charlotte believes that many people come out with excuses as to why people think they can't come to university. "Usually, people say things like 'I'm too old', 'too poor'...or 'too stupid' to come to university." She says that it's mainly because they believe that they've missed their chance, something which her and the Widening Participation team are striving to put right.

Speaking to Nathan Ifill from the University of Leicester News Centre, Charlotte has been dispelling some of the myths surrounding becoming a mature student.

"You can learn at any age, so you haven't missed your chance if you're over 21 or if you've been in work for a while," Charlotte says. "There are students of all ages at the University of Leicester." Most mature students at the university are between the ages of 25 and 35, but with some mature students in their 60s, there is no age limit to learning at Leicester.

As virtually all students (including mature students) are eligible for a student loan, Charlotte similarly dismisses the claims that someone could not afford to come to university. "It's another common myth," she says. "Mature students are basically eligible for the same funding as a typical 18 year old coming to university straight from school, but there's also additional funding available." While a student loan would cover all of the tuition fees, you can also get a maintenance loan which helps cover things such as rent and living costs. Charlotte added that if you have children or are claiming income support or child benefit, you can get extra help as well.

Even if you weren't up to scratch at school, the university will help you get up to standard: "We work with local colleges to help people get the right qualifications," Charlotte said. Local colleges around the area offer top-ups on GCSEs as well as Access to Higher Education courses. "If someone thinks 'I've not got the qualifications, I didn't have a good time at school, I didn't like education, but maybe I want to give it that chance', they can go and do those and there's funding available for those as well," Charlotte explained. As an added bonus, if you take a loan out for one of the Access to Higher Education courses, that loan gets written off if you complete a degree afterwards.

If you are over 21, didn't go to university after school or college and are interested in finding out more about getting into higher education, you can visit the mature student stand at one of our open days on Saturday 17th September and Saturday 15th October to speak to current mature students about their experiences. Click here to book your place:

Alternatively, if you've already made the next step and are beginning an Access to HE course in September and would like to come along to our Access to HE Advice Day on Wednesday 23rd September 2016, booking details can be found here:

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