mature students

We welcome mature students at the University of Exeter.

Mature students

Every year universities and colleges welcome thousands of students who have not come directly from school or college and have returned to education at different stages of their lives. The decision to enter higher education as a mature student can be a difficult one in terms of commitment and financial circumstances. 

Student support

If you are supporting a student who is applying to the University of Exeter, please visit the mature student pages of our undergraduate website. 

We have also produced a few useful pointers for teachers and advisers who are helping mature students to progress to university.  

Choosing a course 

The same subject can vary immensely at different institutions so paying close attention to course content is recommended. Unistats lets students compare official course data from universities and colleges. Mature students who feel that exams are not a particular strength, may prefer to apply for a course where there is a higher proportion of coursework assessment. 

Part-time study

A large number of mature students choose to study part-time. However, students should make sure that their chosen course has an option for part-time study. It is also advisable to check with the relevant academic department before they make a formal application,  to ensure that it is possible with respect to timetabling arrangements. Applications for part-time study should be made directly to a University's Admissions Office and not through UCAS.


When applying for university or college, mature students will need to provide evidence of their ability (and experience) to study at an appropriate level. There are no standard entry requirements so mature applicants may want to contact the admissions tutors for their chosen courses before making a formal application. It is normally recommended that students should have undertaken some recognised course of study (eg. Open University credits, or GCE A levels) within the last three years. Mature students may be asked to produce an account of relevant work experience for their chosen university to consider. 

Choosing a university 

League tables such as The Times university league tables and the National Student Survey are a good starting point for researching higher education institutions. Mature students who want to stay closer to home or save travel expenses should look at courses in further education colleges or universities in their region. 


One of the best ways to find the right university is by visiting in person. University open days are a great opportunity to see what support is available and talk to other students. Mature students should consider contacting departments directly to arrange visits. Many subject admissions staff welcome the opportunity to meet prospective mature students and discuss entry requirements and course content, but their availability will be dependant on teaching commitments.


There are no age limits on eligibility for tuition fee loans and government maintenance grants so mature students can apply, as long as they are studying for a first degree. They may also be eligible for additional financial support from their chosen university. More information on funding can be found on the Gov.UK website.

Academic skills 

Mature students may be worried about how they'll cope with the demands of academic work. A number of universities and colleges offer a range of workshops that provide guidance and information on all aspects of learning and study skills. Many students who have been out of formal education for some time find these particularly useful.


Students requiring family accommodation should make early contact with their chosen university's accommodation office to see if there is any specific housing provision available. 


Many universities have childcare facilities on site but places can be competitive so it is a good idea to apply early. Mature students with young children may also be entitled to a childcare grant which is income assessed.


Joining societies at university is a great way to get involved in student life and meet like-minded people. There are often societies specifically for mature students which provide peer support and organise activities. Universities also have a wide range of support services covering everything from disability support to religious provision.