Thinking of going to Uni, can anyone who understands the work load/finance aspect of it help?

(12 Posts)
JingleMum Tue 15-Oct-13 21:10:45

Hi,

At a bit of a crossroads and could really do with some help. I'm 29 and I had 1 DD who has just started primary school. I work part time in a crappy minimum wage job. I can't see me ever progressing in my career without a degree. No one would have me, as I only have GCSE's.

I am quite academic, really love studying/reading/learning. I have done quite a few courses "just for fun" but now I want to take my career seriously and see if I can better myself and find a decent paid job eventually.

I'm looking into doing an access to Humanities course next September, then going on to study English Language/Literature and possibly doing a PGCE after it.

Problem with this, is that DP would like to start trying for another child next Autumn (Last child for us, don't want to leave a bigger gap than this as DD is already 5) If it all works out, I would fall pregnant around next Sept/Oct and give birth around the following May/June. Would this work with the access course or should I wait a little longer? This would also mean that I would be taking a year out before I went to Uni, so probably wouldn't be starting Uni until Sept 2016.

My concern with the above is the current Government, i'm worried that they have something planned, more cuts, which will mean I won't be able to go to University as they will withdraw student loans etc.. Does anyone know if i'm worrying unnecessarily or if this is very possible? I'm worried i've missed the boat so to speak.

My other concern is student finance. My DP earns approx £20,000 per year (he is self employed so this actually fluctuates, but he has never earned more than £20,000 and isn't likely too) I earn about £5,200 a year as it stands. I have the option to work from home, self employed once I start my access course/go to Uni but will only earn around £4000/£5000 tops if I go down this road. DP and I have budgeted and I can afford to give up work when I study. We will struggle, but it's do-able. Does anyone know what my best bet is regarding work and also if i'd even be entitled to student loans/finance etc because of my partner's earnings?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I want to apply for my access course ASAP, but don't know if it's practical?

OP’s posts: |
JingleMum Tue 15-Oct-13 21:14:24

Forgot to mention, when I said "Work load" in the thread, I meant is it possible to fully commit to an access course whilst your pregnant? with morning sickness, tiredness etc... I would imagine it definitely is and when you are as determined as I am, i'm sure it's do-able. Just wondered if anyone had been in that boat?

OP’s posts: |
creamteas Tue 15-Oct-13 21:40:12

It would be better to aim for a July/Aug/Sept baby though rather than May/June as that is when exams would usually be.

In terms of managing pregnancy and study, it does sort of depend on what sort of pregnancy you have!

I had a baby in the middle of Masters degree and managed just fine, but it was a relatively easy pregnancy. I worked my butt off to get ahead of all the assessments that I could, and had a couple of weeks extension for my final dissertation.

I wouldn't like to guess what student finance would look like though, as there will be an election before you get to uni!

JingleMum Tue 15-Oct-13 22:08:45

Hi Creamteas,

Thanks for your reply. I was going to speak with one of the access tutors and try and gauge if it's just assignments that we need to hand in or if there are actual exams?

Regarding student finance, i'm just so worried. I have my heart set on University, obviously don't mind getting into debt for it, I just desperately hope that the Government don't take loans etc away. Childcare would also be an issue. I would need help with nursery fees, similar to what I get now with WTC. If Labour get back in, I don't think i'll be as worried.

OP’s posts: |
Mytholmroyd Tue 15-Oct-13 23:46:13

Hi Jinglemum! I did an access course with a 2 year old, applied to University, got a place, got pregnant again (had the baby between handing in my last assignment - no exams - and getting my result!), deferred for a year and then started my course at University with a 3 and a 1 year old. I got very cheap childcare as a student.

To be honest, although I had to work at night (and sometimes through the night!) when the children were asleep to do my assignments I didn't find it that hard. Most 18-21 year olds spend a lot of time socialising and sleeping! I also found the University environment a lot more family-friendly than work. Used to take my children in for meetings etc if I had to.

If you have worked and are used to meeting deadlines, getting things done and getting up in the morning I doubt you will find the workload too onerous - particularly for a Humanities degree where there will be a lot of reading and writing in your own time. You just need to work smart.

That was a while ago - my 3 and 1 year old are adults now and at University (as am I still!). Having left school at 16, it was the best thing I ever did, gave me a whole new career in a subject I love and worth every lonely night sat at a computer. smile

Go for it.

Moominmammacat Wed 16-Oct-13 09:05:29

Creamteas ... hijacking the thread slightly ... but do you have any speculation to offer as to what might happen to Student Finance after the election?

BoysWillGrow Wed 16-Oct-13 14:19:20

Hi, I've recently started the access course, with regards to finance you should qualify for the 24+ advanced learning loan if your extra qualifications don't equate to a level 3 (I think! google it) You should also get help with childcare costs and travel. Maybe you could apply for the course with the term starting this January and get a head start.

And yes apply ASAP my course is packed at the moment, especially if your course is local rather than a town or it could be moved if they feel not enough people have enrolled. Good luck.

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JingleMum Wed 16-Oct-13 23:03:25

thanks guys, so kind of you all to reply.

does anyone know if the access to humanities course involves exams etc, or is it just handing assignments in? it'll make it easier to see what i should do over getting pregnant sooner or later.

just really worried that the government will take the loans/childcare etc away.

OP’s posts: |
creamteas Wed 16-Oct-13 23:18:47

It is widely believed in HE that for the next few years the £9k headline figure will stay (which is a problem for us, as our costs go up every year, but our income won't).

But I don't really have any more insider knowledge I'm afraid.

Universities are under BIS so we have Vince Cable rather than Gove so we have a bit more stability than the rest of the education sector, but elections can change everything.

23balloons Wed 16-Oct-13 23:28:23

You could apply for the 24+ loan to cover fees, repayable on same terms as student loans & might be able to access the Adult Learner support fund -varying amounts available depending where you do the course. You need to contact the Unis /colleges & ask as it will be different at each one.

Too far ahead to predict what you will get for a degree as it changes each year & would depend if you got on course etc, think English is quite competitive & sought after.

Good luck

MrsRBrand Thu 17-Oct-13 16:46:33

In my exp of doing an Access course, the government offer no support and you're on your own. There aren't any exams and it's relatively easy. A woman on my AC had three children and passes with Distinction. When you get to uni there is a lot more help for people in your position so I would say life's hard anyway but you may as well be investing in your future while life's busy being hard- GO FOR IT,!

Nightwish Sun 20-Oct-13 19:47:23

I started a HND (equivalent to first two years of a degree) when DS1 was 2.
I was then pregnant for most of my second year.
Just had DS2 and started back this year for my ordinary degree top up when he was 6 weeks.
Don't get me wrong, it is hard work, but it is totally worth it I feel.
I enjoy my course and hope that this makes my families prospects better!
My DP even started back at college this year too and DS1 started school, so it is a bit mental.

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