Any 'mature' Uni students around...?

(12 Posts)
GloryWhole Sun 24-Feb-13 21:55:32

I've often thought about going to uni, but it all seemed like a bit of a pipe dream due to need to work for financial reasons etc etc.

However, i now find myself an unemployed single parent. My applications for jobs are getting practically no response. And when i do get an interview, i don't get the job. I can feel my brain turning to mush.
I've been looking on uni websites at a course (3 year course) that i've wanted to do for a long time and wondering if now is the time to apply for it. (I don't want to just apply to uni - there'd be no guarantee i'd be accepted onto the course anyway - because i'm struggling to find work. I want to better myself and this is a field which i have worked in but would love to be 'properly' qualified for).

I'm clueless though about things like fees and funding for courses. Is anyone able to tell me how it is for them? I'm in Scotland. Also, what about childcare? Do you still get child tax credits if you're a student?

Thanks in advance for any info anyone can provide.

Hello - i am in England so it is different with regards to fees etc but wrt benefits etc mine stayed the same except you can't claim job seekers or any working credits.

The toughest obstacle you will face is student finance - they are awful! Sorry i can't be of more help but as i understand it things are a bit different up there ;-)

best of luck, id like to say its totally worth it - but im working the same minimum wage job i was when i was 17 ha ha but im just happy to be working!

GloryWhole Sun 24-Feb-13 22:51:15

I appreciate your reply, thanks. My DD is only a toddler at the moment, so i receive income support and child tax credits. I've only been unemployed since splitting from her dad and having to move to my parents (from England back to Scotland - hence why i had to leave my job) - but it's now been over a year since i've been unemployed and the job situation is so dire everywhere at the moment!

I'm concerned about how i'd juggle 3 years of study - which would include being on placements, and childcare (her father doesn't see her, so i'm pretty much all she has) - i don't want to fail at the course. But people do study, work, parent etc all at the same time and they manage...!

I probably need to contact the institution and ask about funding/finance as i just can't get my head around it.

Thanks for your reply :-)

I got help with childcare from Student Finance - they pay you in installments which are made up of various loans and grants some of which are based on household income - if you live with parents it will have to include their incomes (ridiculous!).

The best thing you could do is contact the uni you are considering and ask to speak to someone from their finance department and then a mature student advisor - i did an English Lit degree with a year out to have my ds - so he was 12 months when i went back and 3 when i graduated - it was hard (especially having to listen to teenage girls whine about not having enough time to pArty, study and get their hair and nails done and don't get me started on the ones who whine about lack of money ha ha

Is your dd in a nursery? If she is 3 does she get the free hours? That will help you out if she does!

weegiemum Sun 24-Feb-13 23:28:52

Ok, the great thing should be that if you're in Scotland, and have been there 3 years or more, you'll have no fees to pay at a Scottish uni.

You want to get in touch with SAAS which is the Scottish academic funders. If you scroll down on this page, there's information about love parent support grants.

If you have an Employment Adviser at your job centre they might know other things or pass you on to someone who can.

I hope it goes well. I went back to college to do a second undergraduate degree in 2006 and loved it!

GloryWhole Sun 24-Feb-13 23:30:43

We no longer live with my parents, and my DD is coming up for 2 - just another year to wait for those 15 hours!
Can't believe i'm 'mature' - i'm only coming up for 33!!! :-)

Thanks for your advice - i think i will contact the finance dept.
I can imagine that doing a degree/course is very hard work with everything else you have to juggle as a parent, but the stimulation and the sense of achievement must be immense...i hope!

worley Sun 24-Feb-13 23:31:16

I went to two different uni's when ds1 was a toddler. the first uni I did a year at were really helpful and gave me lots of help towards living costs and childcare fees. the secon uni I went to (did an nhs hcp degree) and that uni refused to help me with childcare at all. and yet it gave the girl who I traveled with lots of financial help.. she lived with her parents and had their financial help.. no bills.. but they wouldn't help me.. bizarrely..

I did my post grad when ds2 was three and went back to work full time to do it.. but I had to as exdp left us. best thing I did financially as am a very good wage now. going back to do my pgdip sept smile

weegiemum Sun 24-Feb-13 23:31:34

Oh I see you're recently returned. There well may be fee waivers etc available - the bursars office at your chosen institution should probably be your best first port of call.

<nosey - what do you want to study?>

GloryWhole Sun 24-Feb-13 23:33:56

Thanks weegiemum. I'm Scottish, but have only been living back in Scotland since the end of 2011. I lived down south for pretty much 10 years.

I have a lone parent advisor at the job centre, who's been trying to help me find work, so i'll ask her if she can pass me onto someone with regards to the uni course.

Thanks again.

GloryWhole Sun 24-Feb-13 23:41:19

worley - thanks for your post. Sounds like things are going well for you and that's just what i want - to better myself and be able to give my DD a better future.

weegiemum - i'm looking at a BA in Nursing (Learning Disability). I've worked in the learning disability field for over 10 years, and my last job (which i left when i split from DD's dad and had to return to Scotland) was as service manager for a home for adults with learning disabilities. I do have an NVQ4 Social Care and Leadership & Management in Care Award NVQ 4, so i am qualified within my 'field' - but i've been job hunting lately and a lot of the home manager jobs i would love to apply for ask that the candidates be qualified LD nurses. I've worked often with LD nurses, and i've always been quite envious of their jobs. I've wanted to apply for years, but have never been in the position to do so.

I'm sort of thinking that now may be my last change to do so - and, as i can't seem to find a job, i really want to do something and studying for something that would better myself and my DD's future would be ideal.

Thanks for your advice.

sashh Tue 26-Feb-13 06:41:42

Scotland is different, but I think only in that you don't have to pay fees.

You will be entitled to a loan and a grant. As you are a single parent you may also be able to claim income support. You will be able to get child tax credits.

You won't have to pay council tax and you may get housing benefit.

If you don't get IS, HB etc then you can still claim them in the holidays.

Universities also have funds they can make available often for things like childcare.

I was in a similar position, but I'd had to give up work because of disability.

Go for it. You will not regret it.

Crummymum Tue 26-Feb-13 10:27:29

The uni you apply to may well have a creche/ nursery facilities, which would be really handy in terms of logistics and being near to your DD. It sounds like a really interesting and rewarding field to get into. Very best wishes.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now