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Higher education is third level education after you leave school that leads to a degree. There are lots of different types of higher education level courses available. Most people are 18 or over when they start higher education.
Higher education courses only used to be delivered at universities. Now many further education (FE) colleges offer them, as well as some training providers in Dorset.
You can explore higher education courses at the age of 18 or 19 if you have a Level 3 qualification such as:
- A levels
- advanced apprenticeships
- BTEC National
If you don't have these qualifications but are interested in studying at a higher education level there are other ways to get there; through access courses and through studying while you work.
Talk to an FE college or training provider for more information.
Find more information about FE courses on GOV.UK.
Financial support while you study
If you're about to start any education beyond 16 and think you might struggle with the cost of full-time education or training, for example books or equipment, there are lots of different bursaries you can apply for to get financial support.
Speak to your school, college or training provider about your circumstances. You'll need to apply for the bursaries. Each provider will have their own application forms and eligibility criteria.
Transport when you're at college
There's no automatic entitlement for free home to school or college transport once a student is over 16. This is the case even if they've had free transport in the past. Find out more about post 16 transport support.
If you attend a post-16 education placement you can apply for a seat through the Surplus Seat Transport Scheme (SSTS).
Colleges and some schools have funded the development of their own arrangements for transporting students to their school or college and helping students with the cost. Contact your school or college to find out more information.
Find out more about our home to school transport policy.
Transport for students with SEND
You should go through your post 16 transport arrangements during year 11 if you have SEND. Even if you have an education, health and care (EHC) plan, you may not be entitled to travel assistance post 16.
SEND support (16 to 25 years)
If you're aged between 16 and 25 and you have an EHC plan there are lots of options to prepare you for adulthood. The aim is for young people to move into work.
Find out more about your education, training and work options if you have SEND.
Supported internships are aimed at young people aged 16 to 25 with an EHC plan who want to move into employment and need extra support to do this. The internship usually lasts a year and includes an unpaid work placement of at least 6 months. The placement may be with one employer, or several according to the young person's needs.
Remember: all young people are expected to stay in education or training until they're 18. This could be through any of the options above, even a job if it has accredited training. Accredited training will give you qualifications that will help you:
- progress further in your career
- earn more money
- have better job security
Now I've read all the information, what do I do?
Here's what to do next:
- talk to an accredited career advisor or family and friends about your next steps
- find out more by researching all the options, starting with our useful links
- go to open evenings and taster days
- aim to apply for more than one course at more than one provider. This way you'll keep your options open
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