A Parent's Survival Guide To Studying

Getting back into education or making a career change after having a family can feel daunting. Many parents worry about the financial impact studying may have on their household, as well as the social pressures to find the perfect work/life/family balance.

But progressing in your education doesn’t mean you have to make unwelcome sacrifices. In fact, you may even be surprised at how much support there actually is available to you. There are a range of flexible study and financial support options available, to help you to achieve your ambitions and make study fit around you.

Here, we bust a few of the myths that are floating around about adult education and explore the support that you can get in more detail.

Myth's about Adult Education

1. Myth #1 – Adult education is unaffordable
One of the biggest misconceptions of adult education is the immediate expense of course fees. While some courses do have up-front fees, there are a large number of level three programmes where you will be eligible for an Adult Learner Loan.

This loan can cover course fees as low as £300 and can be taken out to cover the full or partial amount of the fees. This loan doesn’t depend on your household income and you only have to start paying it back once you earn over £21,000 per year. For entry level one to two courses, some learners are eligible for reduced or free fees. This varies depending on circumstance, learn more.

Additionally, if you choose to complete an Access to Higher Education course, you may be eligible to have the cost of your tuition fees refunded to you if you progress onto and complete a full bachelor’s degree.

For students who do want to progress on to a degree, you can also apply for tuition fee and maintenance loan through the government’s student finance scheme or a Masters Loan if you’re looking to undertake postgraduate study.

2. Myth #2 – You’ll be the only person over 19!

If you’re worried about being the only adult in class, don’t be! There’s a real mix of students at Newcastle College and you’re bound to meet like-minded students you can relate to.

3. Myth #3 – You’ll have to pay for childcare while you study
There is an option to apply for financial support towards childcare while you study through things like the Learner Support Fund and the Care To Learn scheme. 

The Learner Support Fund could cover nursery, childminders or after-school clubs to help you manage childcare while you study.

The funding is limited and is available to students who meet specific household income eligibility criteria. You can learn more by talking to our student services team by calling 0191 200 4000 or email enquiries@ncl-coll.ac.uk

In addition, Newcastle College Day Nursery on-site if you’d prefer to bring your children to campus while you study.

4. Myth #4 – You’ll have to consider the extra expenses associated with study
The Learner Support Fund isn’t only available for childcare costs. It can also be used towards the costs of travel, as well as free stationery, meals, equipment and the costs of field trips.

Travel contributions of up to £7 a day can be made to students who live more than two miles away from college.
Additionally, as a student of Newcastle College you will be able to apply for a parking permit which will allow you to park for free within the college’s car park or at Metro Radio Arena.

The funding is to learners who meet the household eligibility criteria.

5. Myth #5 – You have to study full-time
Going back into education doesn’t mean that you have to go back full-time! Newcastle College offers a range of part-time evening courses, as well as an online distance learning option in a range of subjects.

If you already hold a level three and want to progress at work – there’s also an option to get accredited while you work, with a degree apprenticeship. This course is partially funded by your employer and is perfect if you want to progress into a management position. You will be accredited on-the-job with only a short time being spent in college studying.

You can learn more about degree apprenticeships and get support in asking your employer for funding here. 

6. Myth #6 – You’ll struggle to get support if you begin to feel stressed
We understand that there are a range of personal obstacles you could face when undertaking your studies and it’s of the utmost importance to us that we are able to support you to achieve your goals.

One of the greatest benefits of choosing to study with Newcastle College is the award-winning student support you will receive here as a student.

We have a Wellbeing Support Team who are on-hand to offer you help with mental health, emotional or social needs – as well as a Mentor Programme if you just want a little extra support in adapting to and managing your studies.

We also have excellent Assistive Technology support, if you do require learning aids to help undertake your studies.


The government offers a huge range of support to help students progress in education, you can view this at the gov.uk website.

* Newcastle College Day Nursery does not currently accept the governments ‘free hours’ scheme
**TES FE Award 2017 'Best Support for Learners Award'