When you look at your baby, the idea of them growing up seems almost impossible. But as we know grow up they will, and all too fast and we only want ‘the best’ for them.
And, when they’re old enough, many of our children may want a university education.
But attending university isn’t the ideal option for families on a low income. Tuition fees are costly (most will set you back around £9,000 at this point, not to mention 18 years from now), and living expenses are high. The idea of sending a child to university can feel like putting your life savings on one colour at a roulette table!
The costly situation at universities doesn’t look like it’s going to improve any time soon– Russell Group universities are actively campaigning for higher tuition fees – and it’s making many parents search for a viable alternative.
It’s the capitalist ideal that something new will come along to counter the problems of the old – and education is no different.
Beyond these old institutions, a number of other educational forms have gained traction, and they could help you trim your budget while still giving your child the finest possible education.
Education – going the distance
The first has technically been in existence for a century, although in a variety of forms.
Distance learning used to be considered the inefficient and impractical counterpart to a university education. To get the most from a course, you’d have to stay up late watching Open University programmes on BBC2, scour libraries for textbooks they might not even stock, and communicate with your tutor via snail mail. That’s how I started my correspondence degree!
When the internet began making waves, however, distance learning took on a more efficient form. Nowadays, it’s improved on the core aspects of university, allowing people with full-time jobs to study whenever they’ve got a few spare minutes – I know! I was working full time while I gained my degree!
Although generally vocational, online degrees can offer a variety of career paths. Anglia Ruskin University, for instances, offers a football degree, accounting degrees, managerial qualifications and much more.
So it’s a broad area, and will cut down on living expenses and tuition fees.
Making a decision
What if your child doesn’t know what they want to do when they leave school? Again, the internet has all the answers.
Free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become the in thing in the educational world. Essentially, they’re taster courses which allow you to dip in and out of short modules, providing you with a foundational knowledge of a subject – just enough to decide if you’d like a degree.
Fortunately there are years yet before most of us have to worry about our toddlers knowing what they want to do with the rest of their lives, and perhaps in that time the face of education – along with that of much of the rest of life as we know it right now! – will have changed, but it’s never a bad idea to know what’s going on and what the options are.