Do you want to further your education, but not sure university is the right path for you? While university might seem like a great option for some, others are not so sure.

Tuition fees are at an all-time high, with the average student in the UK now forking out £9,250 per year for their degree. This bring the total for an average three-year course to £27,00. On top of this, students need to pay for rent, food and other essential items. Those that take out a maintenance loan end up with a whopping £35,000 to £40,000 debt.

If you’re reading this thinking that you want to further your education without the huge financial commitment, there are lots of options out there for you. Here, we explore some great alternatives to university.

Higher Apprenticeships

What is it?

A higher apprenticeship will give you a level four or five qualification. This is the same level as a foundation degree at college. The great thing about this option is you earn and learn at the same time. You study part time through college, university or training site, whilst working for an employer. This gives you a rounded skill set, learning through both on the job training and structured sessions.

How long does it take?

Depending on the course you study, higher apprenticeships can take between one and five years.

Does it cost anything?

The costs of your qualification are covered by the government and your employer. You will also be getting paid for working for your employer, making this a highly cost-effective option.

Foundation Degree

What is it?

A foundation degree allows you to study a specific subject, preparing you for a career in that area. It is the equivalent of two-thirds of an honours degree and gives students the opportunity to gain work experience while they learn. When you pass, you can go straight into work or top it up to achieve a full honours degree.

How long does it take?

This depends on how you choose to study. If you learn full-time, it will take two years to complete. If you choose to study part time while working, it usually takes between three and four years.

Does it cost anything?

Yes, usually £2,600 per year. This is much cheaper than university tuition fees. If you meet the set criteria, you can apply for student finance to support your studies. Your course must be in the UK and you need to complete at least 25% of the course per academic year.

Entry-Level Work

What is it?

Entry-level jobs give you the opportunity to start a career in your chosen industry without the need for specific qualifications. This does depend on the industry, of course. These are a great way to get your foot on the career ladder and work your way up through hard work and determination. It allows you to learn how to effectively manage your finances and be responsible for your own success.

Obviously, this doesn’t cost you a penny. You don’t have to fork out for expensive tuition fees and have the benefit of earning money straight after you leave education.

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