Why I took out a 24+ loan to study business

26 June 2015 Jen Haddrell at the Centre for Lifelong Learning

Jen Haddrell, who will progress to City University to study a BA in Management

Jen did not gel with education at school and says that she was not academic enough to take A Levels. In her early twenties she did bar work. She saw her friends going to university, getting well paid jobs and going on nice holidays and she decided that she wanted to do something about it.

After taking the Business - Access to Higher Education Diploma at City and Islington College's Centre for Lifelong Learning, Finsbury Park, Jen has now been offered a place to study a degree in Management at City University. Her ambition for the future is to become a management consultant.

What has it been like studying at the College?

The course and experience is going well. I get a lot of support and my teachers are knowledgeable and helpful. The nature of Access courses also means that everyone in our group is motivated as they have taken risks to return to education and failure is not an option. I knew I wanted to study business and get in to HR, but since studying the course I have learnt so much about economics and accounts that it has opened my eyes to other career options.

How did you hear about the College?

When I first considered returning to education I had no idea that Access courses existed. The first thing I did was approach universities with my CV asking what someone in my position had to do to get in to university. They told me that I had to take an Access course. 

How did you hear about 24+ loans?

I decided that taking out a loan was worth it as I was working in a bar and earning very little at the time. I had got to the point in my twenties when I asked myself what am I doing with my life? I was earning £6 an hour doing bar work so I knew that I had to get in to debt in the short term for what I see as potentially huge long term gain.

It is motivating that you do not have to pay back the loan if you complete the degree. That fact certainly helped me make my decision. 

What would you say to students to encourage them to return to education?

It’s a long term investment, and if you see it through and keep your motivation strong you don’t have to pay the 24+ loan back. You still have to be prepared to take on the university debt, but if you have a clear goal to a future career then the positives outweigh the debt. I want to go into consultancy which pays well, and I also know that I will be able to pay back any debt I have in small amounts over a short space of time.

I think it has been encouraging to me to have a tutor who has a PHD and who is supportive. I did not realise before taking the course that I would be taught by teachers with such strong expertise, so I would encourage others to take the step and take advantage of the opportunity.

If Jen finishes her degree she will not have to pay a penny back of her Government funded 24+ loan.

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