Everyone is entitled to four years of government help towards further education in the UK. If you have already been to university then you will probably have used a grant or a student loan and you may have used three or four years of government help. This means that if you want to return, you may have to pay, whether you are doing post-graduate courses or another undergraduate course, if you have used up all of your years of help. Or you may be able to get just one year of help and have to find the money for the rest. You will not be able to get a student loan for any or all fo the course, so you will have to look for other ways to borrow.
Types of borrowing
For students there is a second type of student loan that they can use if they want to return to university, called a career development loan. It is more like a proper loan though, compared with a student loan. Although you pay no interest or repayments while you are studying, as soon as your course ends, you have to start repaying it. This means that even if you do not have a job right away or if you are a low earner, you will still need to make those repayments. The interest rate can also be quite high and so it is worth thinking hard about whether this is the option for you.
Obviously there are other types of loans that you might consider. However, personal loan will have to start being repaid immediately, so while you are studying. This could be okay if you are working as well but if you have no income then it could be really tricky. Some loans do not need such regular repayment, such as a credit card. However, you might have a job to get enough of a credit li it to pay for a course and living expenses and the interest on credit cards is very high.
It may that you will be better off borrowing from friends and family who might like to support you. However, you will need to think about whether you know anyone that well off and whether you are prepared to owe money in this way. It could have an impact on your relationship with them.
You will need to also focus on the repayments. If you have a career development loan these will not start until you finish your course. This may seem a lot easier than other types of loans when you will need to repay right away, but you still need to be prepared for it. You may have to ensure you are working straight after your finish your course and this is not guaranteed. You might have to end up doing a job that is not what you were aiming for just to get an income to repay the loan. This could put a lot of pressure on you and could mean that you end up doing a job you do not like and do not have the time to apply for jobs which are relevant to the qualification that you have just achieved. So you may find that the course ends up having very little impact on your career as you end up doing a job which you could have done before doing the course.
Even if you expect to get a job right away, you will need to consider whether you will be able to afford the repayments with the other expenses that you have. It could be that interest rates may go up or your family circumstances might change and you need to spend more money than you imagined.
Is it worth it?
So it will not be an easy decision. If you are doing a one year course, then it will be a lot cheaper and the decision will be easier than if you are doing a three year course or an even longer one. Even with a short course you need to still be making sure that you are getting the right sort of loan and making sure that you are confident that you will be able to make the repayments. It can be a difficult decision to make. Try to imagine what might happen in the future in your personal life as well as your career and also whether you have a one or two income family which could make repaying a loan easier. Consider the age of any children you have or might have in the future and how that will impact your ability to make the loan repayments. Also consider your age and your ability to work in your chosen career or in a job that will earn enough so that you can make your loan repayments as required.