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Myth Buster

Myth: Higher education is only for people with a lot of money.

Many higher education courses charge tuition fees, but there are options available to help with the costs of studying. 

Tuition fee loans are available to cover the costs associated with the course, and maintenance loans can provide help towards living costs. The amount of maintenance loan you receive will depend on a number of factors, such as your living situation, where you are studying, and details of your household income. We have a more detailed explanation of student finance here.  

If you are completing an apprenticeship your tuition fees are met by the employer, and you will receive a wage while completing your course. As an employee, you will also receive all other employee benefits such as annual leave and sickness pay. 

Myth: Higher education is just like school. 

Higher Education is different to school in many ways. There are more subjects to choose, different course types and you can choose to study full-time, part-time or in employment. You are also given much more independence and the chance to take control of your own learning. Here are some of our key differences:

SchoolHigher Education
You must study certain subjectsYou can choose exactly what, and how, you study
Lessons of no more than 30 pupilsLectures on larger courses can have up to 400 students in them
You will be set homework and reminded to complete it You take ownership of your own learning and will not be reminded to study
You must go to schoolYou choose to go to higher education (and we’d love it if you did)
School is freeMost options incur a cost but there is often financial help available

Myth: Higher education is only for people who are very academic and get high grades. 

There are lots of higher education options available to suit different learning styles and assessment preferences. You can choose purely academic study involving lectures and examinations, a mixture involving classroom-based learning alongside practical learning, or purely learning through work with observations and portfolios forming the assessment. Different courses have different entry conditions, and you can discuss these with universities and colleges before you apply. 

Myth: Higher education can only be studied at a university. 

You can study different higher education qualifications at different locations including colleges. There is also the option to complete an apprenticeship which combines time in the workplace with time at a university or college. 

Myth: You can’t earn money or get work experience while studying. 

There are a number of ways you can earn money while studying for your qualification. 

If you study a higher or degree apprenticeship will be paid a wage whilst you complete this. If you decide to study a qualification at a university or college, you could work part time alongside your studies. Many institutions offer flexible working opportunities for their students in roles such as being a student ambassador or taking up flexible roles on campus. Many bars, restaurants and shops are also happy to employ students and offer flexible working hours that fit around their studies. In addition to the financial benefits of working, a part time job whilst studying can help build your CV. 

Some higher education courses give students the opportunity to work in their chosen industry for a year, midway through their course. This is also a great opportunity to build skills and experience, as well as having financial benefits. 

Myth: You have to move far away from home to get a higher education qualification. 

Studying a higher education qualification doesn’t necessarily mean moving away from home. The North East has a wide range of higher education providers right across the region, each providing a number of different options. You could choose to remain at home, and commute to your chosen place of study or you could move into student accommodation. 

Myth: Higher education has to be studied full-time for years. 

Although it is true that some qualifications take three years to complete (some take even longer than this) some are courses that are also shorter, e.g., foundation degrees, HNC and HND qualifications. Although some of these qualifications are only one year in length, they can be combined to lead to a full bachelor’s degree qualification. 

Myth: There aren’t jobs in the North East that need higher education qualifications. 

There are many jobs in the North East that require a range of different higher education types. 
Sectors in the North East of England that are growing and developing and will need a highly skilled workforce to carry them forward. These include:

Students from the North East have been investigating some of these sectors in more detail. See the video below: 

Check the following website for more details on these.

Myth: You don’t need to think about higher education until you’re 18. 

You can begin thinking about what you want from your future at any time – the earlier the better! It’s a good idea to explore your higher education options early, as some paths may require you to choose certain subjects along the way in addition to having some specific work experience. Even if you aren’t sure what career you would ultimately like to end up in it’s a good idea to start thinking about it as early as possible.