If you find you’ve developed an appetite for learning, you can opt to ‘top-up’ your Foundation degree to an appropriate honours degree at your local university or college, with full and part-time options available. Alternatively you could opt to take higher level NVQs or higher vocational or professional qualifications and continue your professional development at work.
When would I start a Foundation degree?Full-time courses follow the normal academic year pattern, so start in September. Part-time courses may begin at any time. Many part-time courses do not follow the academic year pattern and continue through the holidays.
Who pays for a Foundation degree?Just like all university-level degrees, Foundation degree students are required to pay tuition fees. These will vary depending on whether you choose to study full or part-time. The institution offering the course will be able to advise you on their course fees. Foundation degree students are entitled to the same level of financial support as all other HE students. This support may include student loans, assistance with tuition fees and special bursaries. Support is usually means-tested and varies for full and part-time students.
There’s tons of excellent information on tuition fees, loans, grants and bursaries on the Directgov student finance website. Information about bursaries offered by universities and colleges can be found using the bursary map. Visit http://unimoney.direct.gov.uk/ to find out more.
Getting your employer to back youIf you are working already you may be lucky enough to get your employer to fund your training or to offer some financial support. While this might be a challenge in today’s economic climate, because employers help design Foundation degrees you’ll be getting skills and knowledge that will be of benefit to them and help them prosper and compete – so it’s in their interest to support you. Before you approach your employer make sure you arm yourself with all the facts in relation to your chosen Foundation degree, including what it costs, how and where it is delivered and most importantly, how it will benefit both them and you. Remember to explain how much of the programme will be work-based and therefore not require you to be out of the workplace for any significant periods of time.
I have a disability – how will I be supported?Universities and colleges are committed to supporting the needs of disabled students and if you have a disability you’ll be amazed at the amount of support that could be available to you, including extra financial help towards your study and associated costs. Every university or college has a Disability Adviser or Learning Support Coordinator to help you get the most out of your time in HE and the sooner you talk to them, the better because they’ll be able to tell you what support is available for you. There are plenty of useful sources of information on all aspects of student life and disability support and your starting point is probably the university or college website.
Sounds great! What next?You need to get searching for the right course for you. Often, the best source of information on Foundation degrees will be the college or university delivering the course in the first instance. You’ll find a searchable directory of course providers and details of what they offer online at the UCAS website.
University and college websites, prospectuses and student advice centres can also provide you with all the information you need to help you decide on a course, but don't forget to check out our extensive jobs and training listings section which can be searched by sector and also has featured foundation degree opportunities.
I found my ideal course – how do I apply?Full-time students will normally apply through UCAS just like with other degree programmes, however it’s best to check first with the course provider since some courses will seek direct application. Application to part-time Foundation Degrees will almost always be direct to the course provider so contact them for details.
Related articles >>
* Foundation degrees – get qualified, go higher!
* Higher Apprenticeships and You
* How Professional Qualifications Can Help Your Career
* Dropping out of uni
* Foundation degrees Benefits