Mature student support

Considering starting university as a mature student? Everyone has the potential to study at university. It’s never too late to gain new skills, improve your job prospects or change your career path.


Around 40 percent of mature students are over 30 and have work, family or rent or mortgage responsibilities.

Two thirds

Around two thirds of our students are over 21 years old when they start their degree.

Return to Study

There are multiple routes you can take into returning to higher education.

Top 10

We were listed in the top 10 UK universities for students aged over 50. (Sunlife, 2023)

Frequently asked questions

Mature students are defined as any student aged 21 or over at the start of their studies. For Postgraduate study this is anyone over 25 years old.

At the University of Central Lancashire, over 50% of mature students are between the ages of 21 and 24. 40% are over the age of 30.

Mature students might be returning to study after a break from full-time education. They also might be leaving employment to return to full-time education. Or be planning to study part-time alongside existing employment.

You can study at university as a mature student even if you do not have traditional qualifications. You can also apply for funding.

You may be able to apply for student finance, Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. The amount you get depends on your family situation and the type of course you’re doing. You may get extra help if you have children. You also may be able to access a short-term loan and grant assistance, including our Access to Learning Fund, bursaries, and other support.

Bursaries and Scholarships may be available whilst studying. Bursaries are awarded depending on household income. Scholarships are available for several areas, and are based on academic excellence.

For more information on Bursaries and Scholarships, please see our related page.

Entry requirements are specific to each course. They usually include either an A Level, Access to Higher Education course, NVQ, BTEC or other work-based qualifications. In some cases, Maths and English GCSEs are required.

Mature students may not have gained the same traditional qualifications as someone who has been through college, sixth form or an apprenticeship, including A Levels, BTEC and other Level 3 qualifications.

Many courses will also look at experience gained in employment or training. Courses may consider this experience through Accreditation of Prior Learning.

There are multiple routes that will help you return to study. These include Foundation Entry degrees, Accreditation of Prior Learning and our free Return to Study entry programmes.

If you want to study a degree full-time, you would apply through UCAS. To do this, create an account on UCAS Hub (previously UCAS Track). You'll then be able to upload your personal statement and choose up to five courses.

If you want to study part-time, apply directly through our online application portal.

You’ll follow the same application deadlines as other students.

For full guidance on how to apply for an undergraduate degree, see our how to apply for an undergraduate degree webpage.

If you're applying for a postgraduate degree, see our how to apply for a postgraduate degree webpage.

Part-time study is available for mature students in some course areas. Part-time study for mature students offers you flexibility, helping you plan your life around your studies

We have free Return to Study entry programmes available across a range of subjects that will help you take the next step towards a full degree. If you lack the formal qualifications to apply for a related degree, join our free fast-track Return to Study programme.

Student living costs

Thinking about applying to university and wondering how you’ll afford it? We can help you understand how to manage your finances. Find out what support is available during your time at university.

Visit our cost of living support hub

Support every step of the way

If you’re considering a return to education, you might have lots of questions about:

  • Mature student courses
  • Entry requirements and financing your studies
  • Managing your other commitments, from work to childcare

If it’s been a while since you last wrote an essay or worked on an assignment, don't worry. We’ll help you make the step up to university-level study and develop the core skills you need.

If you are thinking about starting a degree after taking time out of education, there are multiple routes into university you can take.  

  • Foundation entry degree - Foundation entry is the perfect route if you're ready to study at university but don't quite have the right qualifications for your course.

  • Accreditation of prior learning - use your work experience to get a headstart on your new degree, using our accreditation of prior learning (APL).

  • Return to Study programmes - these free six-week programmes will help you prepare for university study and get your application ready.

To find out more about the different options available to you, visit our Return to Study webpage.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Your previous work experience may have equipped you with transferable skills. Depending on your experience or previous qualifications you could benefit from our APL scheme. This scheme allows you to receive credit for your work experience, helping you on your new course.

Find out more about APL
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What our mature students say

During my time at UCLan, I’ve been taught by inspiring midwives and researchers. The staff and my course mates have been really supportive. The WISER Study Skills Support team have also helped me relearn academic skills and referencing that I’d long forgotten.
student and person holding a baby
BSc (Hons) Midwifery

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Useful information

Fees and funding

Studying with us is one of the biggest investments you'll make towards your future. We're here to help you every step of the way. Find out about tuition fees and financial support available such as scholarships and bursaries.

Student support

We pride ourselves on our excellent student support services, we offer expert advice and support with health and wellbeing, inclusive support, financial advice and much more.

Ask a student

Need advice on course choices or which accommodation to choose when you study with us? Our friendly student ambassadors are ready to share their experiences. Simply register and start chatting to our current students.