applying to higher education n.
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APPLYING TO HIGHER EDUCATION. SEPTEMBER 2015. Why bother going to Uni?. The average graduate starting salary is approx £24000 (NI) Graduates entering law, banking and finance, IT and engineering can expect salaries above this

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why bother going to uni
Why bother going to Uni?
  • The average graduate starting salary is approx £24000 (NI)
  • Graduates entering law, banking and finance, IT and engineering can expect salaries above this
  • the average lifetime earnings of a graduate are £227,000 more than those of a non-graduate with two A-levels
  • The UK has passed a significant milestone towards becoming a graduate economy, with more people now likely to have a degree than to have only reached school-level qualifications
how do you apply
How do you apply?
  • Most applications will be through UCAS (electronically)
  • Applications for universities in Ireland are through CAO (electronically)
  • A few institutions are direct entry
  • Many European countries charge lower tuition fees than the UK (
  • UCAS Student Guidance Interviews - September 22nd 2014 – 10th October 2014
applications through cao
Applications through CAO
  • Closing date of early February (meeting in November)
  • Up to 10 degree and 10 diploma choices
  • Listed in order of preference
  • No personal statement or reference
  • Different values for grades compared to UCAS tariff
  • No conditional offers – selection by order of preference and results in August
  • No tuition fees but a €2500 registration fee (pa)
the ucas form
The UCAS form
  • Register – username and password
  • Personal details – name, address etc
  • Choices – maximum of 5 realistic courses
  • Education – schools attended, exams completed and pending
  • Employment – not very relevant to majority of pupils
  • Personal statement
  • Cost £23
the personal statement
The Personal Statement
  • A personal statement is probably the single most important piece of work that pupils have had to do so far
  • Justify course choice (very important for a vocational course)
  • Work experience
  • Activities inside & outside school
  • Positions of responsibility
  • Concluding statement
what happens next
What happens next??
  • After the interview, pupils are asked to make any corrections as quickly as possible
  • Pupils then bring a finalised paper copy of their form to Mrs Browne
  • The form is checked one more time and pupils can now “pay and send”
  • The cost is £23 and paid online by debit/credit card
  • The form is automatically sent electronically to school
  • The school now writes the confidential reference and attaches this to the electronic form and sends this to UCAS
what happens then
What happens then??
  • UCAS then sends the form electronically to all the universities
  • Admissions tutors then make a decision based on the personal statement, predicted A-Level grades, admissions test scores, GCSE grades & A/S grades, evidence of motivation and the school reference
  • Some pupils may have to go to interview before a decision is made
  • They will reject an applicant, make a conditional offer or (rarely), an unconditional offer
what does an offer look like
What does an offer look like?
  • May be expressed as grades eg ABB
  • May be expressed as UCAS Tariff points eg 320 points
  • May be expressed as a combination of the two eg 320 points to include an A in chemistry
  • A detailed break down of tariff points is available on the UCAS website
  • At A2, A=120, B=100,C=80, D=60, E=40
  • The 4th AS grade is worth half these points
what next
What next??
  • If rejected, the decision is final but pupils can ask for feedback
  • Pupils must wait until all five decisions are made before they can confirm any decision
  • By early May, pupils accept a Firm Conditional offer and an Insurance Conditional offer which should have lower grades
  • These are binding but there may be some leeway
  • UCAS Extra is available online from the end of February to the end of June if a pupil has no offers
  • Pupils can only apply to one course at a time in Extra
finance 1 tuition fees
Finance 1 – Tuition fees
  • Universities in England, Scotland and Wales have now set their own tuition fees to a maximum of £9000
  • NI have set fees for NI students at £3575
  • All students will be eligible for a non-means tested loan to cover their tuition fees. The student takes the responsibility for the loan which is repaid directly from their salary when they earn over £16,365
  • But they are optional
finance 2 maintenance loans
Finance 2 – Maintenance Loans
  • Loans are also available for living expenses
  • Amount available depends on household income (pre-tax income minus pension contributions and allowances for dependents)
  • London £6780
  • Living away from home £4840
  • Living at home £3750
  • If a pupil receives a maintenance grant, the amount of maintenance loan available will be reduced
  • Also optional
other info about loans
Other info about loans
  • Loans are repaid at 9% of earnings above £16365
  • The time to repay is based on income and amount borrowed – not on a fixed time period
  • After 25 years, any remaining debt is wiped
  • Interest on the amount is linked to inflation
  • BUT, this means that you will owe the money for longer and potentially repay more
  • Loans do NOT go on credit files
finance 3 grants
Finance 3 - Grants
  • Grants are non-repayable
  • Students from lower income households will be eligible for a non-repayable grant up to £3475
  • If household income is less than £19203, student is eligible for the whole grant
  • If income is more than £41065, student is eligible for none of the grant
  • A sliding scale works in between the upper and lower limits
  • If a student is entitled to the maximum grant, the maximum maintenance loan is reduced
finance 4 other support
Finance 4 – Other support
  • Universities have to provide additional support to students who receive the full grant – a minimum of £347 (non-repayable)
  • Scholarships are available in engineering and IT
  • “Access to Learning Funds” are available to students on low incomes
  • Health Professional Degrees (S&LT, OT, Radiography etc) can have fees paid if pupil is accepted on NHS funded place
  • Disabled Students’ Allowance – pupils who have a diagnosed physical disability, mental health difficulties, or have a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, may be entitled
information available
Information available
  • (What do graduates do? Section)
  • DEL – “Financial Support for Higher Education Students” (Usually opens in February)
  • DEL – Student Finance Branch
  • Education & Library Boards
how can i help
How can I help?
  • Talk to your son / daughter about their choices
  • Check the form is completed correctly
  • Discuss the content of the personal statement and ask to read it
  • Try to remind them of key dates
  • Encourage, encourage, encourage!!
what if i need help
What if I need help??
  • www (sign up to receive the UCAS parent guide and quarterly email bulletins)
  • Contact Mrs Browne at school (90702777 or
  • Check the school’s website – all dates, presentations and useful websites are listed