UK Further, Higher and Adult Education

Further Education (College)

Post GCSE Study

Once students have completed their GCSE assessments at Key Stage 4, education is no longer mandatory.  However, they can move onto study for Advanced GCE Levels, which are more commonly known as A levels (although in Scotland, the equivalent is Higher grades), in order to prepare them for advancing to University studies.

Options for Study

Most courses are free for all students up to the age of 19, although as with primary/secondary education, there are private and independent options. While some high schools offer further education courses so students can continue their studies at the same institution that they studied for their GCSEs, many students will choose to go to a different college dedicated solely to further education.

Higher Education (University)

University Study

The numbers of college graduates going on to study at university at the age of 18 have increased steadily over the years, with more mature students now attending later in life as well.  There is an enormous range of courses offered by British universities, with UK tuition acknowledged as some of the best in the world, with many universities having a relatively high proportion of overseas students in attendance.

University Costs 

At the moment, students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are required to pay for both their tuition fees and living expenses, with tuition fees costing up to £3,000 (although these do not have to be paid for at all before or during their studies, and are covered by the government which then charges the student back for once they graduate and start working).  Families on low income do receive help with their children's tuition fees, in the form of a grant.  Additionally, universities can give help directly, in the form of a bursary.

In Scotland there are no tuition fees, but after students finish university they are required to pay back some of the cost of their education in a payment known as an endowment.

Adult Education

Adult Education at Colleges

The majority of further education colleges will also offer courses to adults over the age of 18, many of which will be suitable for migrants new to the UK.  These include courses for people wishing to improve their English skills (which are known as English for Speakers of Other Languages courses, or ESOL courses).  Additionally, there are courses for those who simply wish to learn skills to make them more employable, as well as education to improve a student's basic literacy and numeracy abilities

There are also community and training centres that would run ESOL courses, although these are sometimes subject to a waiting list because of the high demand.  However, all adult education classes can be good opportunities for new migrants to learn a new skill or hobby (as courses are many and varied), or simply to meet new people.

University Costs 

At the moment, students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are required to pay for both their tuition fees and living expenses, with tuition fees costing up to £3,000 (although these do not have to be paid for at all before or during their studies, and are covered by the government which then charges the student back for once they graduate and start working). 

Families on low income do receive help with their children's tuition fees, in the form of a grant.  Additionally, universities can give help directly, in the form of a bursary.

In Scotland there are no tuition fees, but after students finish university they are required to pay back some of the cost of their education in a payment known as an endowment.