Two ladies at their graduation ceremony

Make it #mytime to be a mature student

10 May 2024

Whether you want to up your game in the job market, are ready for a career change, or just want more for yourself, join the ever-growing mature student community at RNN Group.

In March, we launched our new #mytime campaign to encourage adults across South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire to return to education by taking a Higher Education (HE) course at University Centre Rotherham.

As a leading education provider, we know how fulfilling it can be for adults to embark on new learning opportunities. Our mature students relish in being the go-getters they know they can be.

It also opens doors to a brilliant future and offers you the chance to be successful in your chosen career. Having a degree can increase your salary by an average of £10,000 a year.

But if you’ve got reservations about taking that leap of faith to becoming a mature student, this blog might answer some of your questions.

I’ve been out of education for donkey’s years. Haven’t I missed the bus?

Life has no timeline. Everyone’s education journeys are different. It’s not a race as to who will graduate first.

Sometimes life just gets in the way and your education dreams get put on the back burner.

You might not have had the time, money or qualifications to do it when you were younger.

Maybe you never thought you were academic, or you were told by your schoolteachers that university was out of your reach.

Your parents might have encouraged or needed you to get a job and start earning instead.

Work was going so well, so how could you possibly take a career break?

Then your own family might have come along and you put the brakes on your ambitions while you helped them forge their own paths.

Perhaps you just weren’t ready until now.

If you’ve always wanted to pursue Higher Education, whether a Bachelor’s degree, foundation degree, HTQ or HNC, now is your time to take the plunge and make education your priority again.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a little rusty. You’ll find that returning to education is just like riding a bike – you never really lose it.

If you do wobble, our tutors and student support team will be there for you every step of the way.  Many past mature students felt the transition to higher-level education was smooth thanks to smaller class sizes and a person-centred approach to learning compared to traditional universities.

Won’t I be the oldest student there though?

The beauty of education is that you’re never too old to learn.

We understand that some adults feel daunted by studying alongside a group of teenagers. But whether you enrol on a course or not, you’ll still get older – even the smartest people in the world haven’t found a solution to that!

On the flip side, the term ‘mature student’ might be putting you off because you don’t think you’re old enough. Mature makes some people think you must be edging up to collecting your pension.

In Higher Education, a mature learner is anyone over the age of 21. In the UK, around two-thirds of degree students are mature learners, and half of those are over 30.

As the average lifespan increases, and we head towards a 50-year working life, there will be more people who choose to pivot their career, seek new opportunities, or pursue education in their 30s, 40s and beyond.

Here at RNN Group, we teach students from 16 right up to those in their 60s. Our learners join us at various stages of their careers – some at the beginning, some at the height, some wanting to start afresh, some retired.

The concept of maturity shouldn’t just be tied to age. The advantage of being an adult learner is that you often have skills you can’t always teach – life experience, resilience, confidence, work ethic, tenacity, motivation.

But I’ve got a lot of commitments…

We know that our adult students often have much more on their plates than those fresh out of college.

You might be juggling childcare and school runs, looking after elderly parents, and holding down a job.

Many of our Higher Education courses are delivered over just a few days each week, including some on evenings, so you can flexibly fit your studies around your personal circumstances.

We also offer part-time industry-recognised qualifications, as well as distance learning courses that you can do online at your leisure.

The University Centre Rotherham campus is based in the heart of Rotherham town centre, so it’s within easy reach from across the borough.

What about finances? I’ll never be able to afford it

Embarking on a Higher Education course is a major investment in your future. You’ll need to consider how you’re going to fund it.

Here at RNN Group, our courses are much cheaper than other universities and HE providers. Our full-time courses are around £7,000 a year compared to the average of £9,250. Our part-time courses are around £4,500 a year.

If it’s your first undergraduate course and you’re a UK citizen, you should be eligible for tuition fee loans. This covers the cost of your course and is paid directly to us in chunks throughout the duration of your course.

There is no age limit for tuition fee loans, and they don’t affect your credit score. They’re only repayable once you’re earning over £25,000 a year. And even then, you only pay 9% of anything above that. Once you reach that threshold, student loan repayments are automatically deducted from your salary each month, a bit like tax and national insurance. For example, if you earn £30,000 a year, you’ll pay £37.50 a month.

Some students will also be eligible for means-tested maintenance loans to support living costs, childcare grants for any kids under 15 (or 17 with SEN) to use for childcare costs, and disability support payments for sensory, physical or learning disabilities.

For more about financial support, call us on 01709 722777 or email

I don’t even know what course I’d be any good at

Sometimes it takes a while to find your ‘thing’, your pathway in life.

What you wanted to do at 16 might look very different from your current goals. But as you know, there may be doubts in your head holding you back.

It’s easy to become stuck in your comfort zone. It takes a lot of courage and trust to leave the familiarity of your life.

When it feels scary to jump, that’s exactly when you should jump. Otherwise you end up staying in the same place your whole life.

Our higher education courses include foundation degrees, HNCs/HNDs, the new HTQ qualifications, and full bachelor’s degrees with honours. We also offer access courses for anyone who doesn’t have a level 3 qualification.

You could study everything from animal management to accounting, engineering to early childhood studies, music performance to media hair and makeup. Whatever industry you want to get into, we have a course that will help get you there.

It will challenge you, but lifelong learning can be life changing.

Are you up for the challenge? Here’s how to start your HE journey…

Do your research

If you’re not sure whether to study full-time or part-time, it pays to do your research and weigh up your best option.

Come to an Open Event

An open event is a must. It’s your chance to ask questions, check out our courses, and see the state-of-the-art University Centre Rotherham in all its glory. If you can’t make one of our upcoming open events, you can also arrange a personal tour.

Find a course

There really are so many course options to choose from. Our HE departments include Accounting, Business and Management, Animal Management and Land-based Industries, Arts and Graphics, Caring Professions, Computing and Digital, Education, Engineering, Hair and Beauty, Media, Moving Image and Photography, and Performance. See the full range of courses here.

Start applying

You can apply directly by finding the course you are interested in studying and clicking the apply button. You can complete our online application form at any time throughout the year.

Find out what you’ll need before applying here.

Categories: Blog