Many students make the tough choice of what degree they want to study at the young age of 18. It is understandable that a choice made at that age may be a mistake or not the smartest decision in hindsight. Maybe you’re making a career change and your original degree is no longer relevant. Fortunately, starting again with a new degree is an option that is available to those that need it.
In short, no you are likely not eligible for another student loan if you are doing a degree at the same level of one you already have. This is true even if you did not take out a student loan for your first degree. There are certain circumstances, however, where you can get funding for a second degree. For example, if you decide to top up a degree you already hold, you can get a student loan. Some degrees in selected fields also get limited funding but, in most cases, you will not be eligible.
Read the rest of this article to get a clearer idea of whether you can get a student loan for your second degree.
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Can you get another loan for a second degree?
There are two types of student loan, maintenance loans and tuition loans. As you might have guessed, tuition loans cover the fees of the degree while maintenance loans are to go towards daily living while you’re a student. Read this Think Student article for more details on loan types.
If you want a second degree, you will not be eligible for maintenance loans. The expectation is that you will support yourself fully as, chances are, you are a career changer with some savings or at least have experience that should make getting a part time job easier. Keep this in mind if you are applying for a second degree as well as the deadlines for applications which you can read about in this and this Think Student article.
In most cases, you will not be able to get a student loan for a second degree. Even if you did not take out a loan the first time, your application will be rejected unless your degree is in a select few subjects. If it so happens that your degree is in the accepted list, you will only have part of your degree funded by the Student Finance company.
If you find that your subject is not mentioned in the list of those eligible for limited funding, you may want to consider private loans. A loan from a private company will not operate the same way as a loan from the student Finance company, so make sure to be aware of that. For example, you will likely start repaying while you are still at university.
Can you get funding for two undergraduate degrees?
Getting funding from the Student Finance company for two undergraduate degrees isn’t an option for most subjects if you want to go to university as normal both times. If you want to study a degree in a subject that is not in the list of approved subjects, you will have to find other means to fund a second one. If you need more detail on applying for student finance, check out this Think Student article.
In certain circumstances, an employer may be open to funding a degree for you. If you make a good case for yourself and demonstrate how the degree would make you a better employee, they may be convinced to sponsor you. You just have to show how the company will benefit from the investment.
What courses can you get a second degree loan for?
Finding funding for another degree can be a difficult process however, some subjects are easier to get funding for than others. This is because the government has a list of approved subjects that are eligible for limited funding.
You can find a list of the approved subjects on the government website here. The Open University website here also has a more specific list of eligible degrees. As you can see, there seems to be a preference for STEM related subjects with particular focus on the sciences.
How do you get funding for a second degree?
There are actually several options for you if you’re after funding for a second degree. Whether you have years of experience in an industry and are looking for a change or you’re fresh from university, realising your degree isn’t as useful as you thought it would be, you can have a funded, fresh start.
One option you might want to consider for funding is by doing a degree apprenticeship. Not only is your degree completely free, but you’d also be getting years of work experience at a company through a paid full-time job. The catch with this is that your apprenticeship cannot be in the same industry as your first degree.
For example, if you did a BSc Computer Science degree, you would not be allowed to study the BSc Digital and Technology Solutions degree apprenticeship as the fields are too similar. Check out this Think Student article if you would like some more detail on what a degree apprenticeship entails and the specifics of funding.
Another alternative to fund your degree is through a bursary or scholarship of some kind. Many universities give out money to students who fit certain criteria to partially cover the tuition fees. These criteria can span from anything to your postcode to your gender. They are usually for people from low-income backgrounds or people who are underrepresented at university.
It is important to keep in mind that the vast majority of scholarships do not cover the full cost of university. As you can see in this Think Student article, the cost of university is very high when just considering tuition fees. Factoring in living costs and, sometimes, supplies/resources for your degree, the cost is even higher.