Tuition Fees and Wildlife Conservation.

Stepping back into education in order to achieve my dream job of Wildlife Conservation has been tricky. Recently, I finished a Level two Animal Care course. For a while I hadn't really given it much thought on where to go after this, I wanted to keep my options open in either carrying on into level three Animal management or doing volunteer work overseas, the problem is I have no idea which one would be the best route into where I want to go. 

Being out of education for a while has left me out of scope with fees etc. as far as I was aware anyone who doesn't have A levels or a level three is entitled to this free of charge. This is mainly why I am writing this post because I did apply for Level three and was offered a place, and I have no idea how fees work! 

Basically, since I'm 24 I'm not entitled to a level three course free of charge, if I was aged between 19-23 it would be free, unless I already had A levels or a level three then I would've been charged £1800 for the two years. During my interview I was told I would have to apply for a student loan to do the course, therefore I assumed I would be paying the £1800 to attend the course, which is fine with me. My letter arrived a couple of weeks ago with the course cost and information on student loans. When I saw the cost of the course my mouth dropped, it costs £11356 for two years, that's over £5000 for a year. This is where I get confused, why does it cost this much because I'm 24? I sent an email asking why it cost so much this was the response, No funding - we will not contribute to the costs of learning through the adult skills budget. If the learner is 24 or over when they start their learning, and provision is at level 3 or 4 they may be eligible to apply for a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan. Otherwise, this may mean you pass on costs to the learner.’  I just don't understand how a 19-23 old paying to attend the course is any different for a 24 year old who could pay the same amount to attend the course? So if anyone knows why can someone please explain? 

After realising the course would cost over ten grand, its really left me at a stand still on where to go next. If I do the course its four days a week, meaning unless I can change my hours at work I would have to leave, so I would have no money coming in. I'd also have to catch two buses, the total for this a day would be £11.26 for four days it would cost me £45.04 that's £180.16 a month just getting there and back.  

Working with animals is what I want to do and doing conservation work is the route I want to take, I've been trying to find internships, volunteer work etc. that could lead me on that route but honestly I just feel lost on which route to take. 

Really I'm just asking for advice, does anyone know anyone who works in conservation or has any tips on where to being or advice on fees, it would really be appreciated. 
  1. Wow, that does sound incredibly expensive for a two year course. I didn't think level 3 courses cost that much!

    I guess you'd count as a 'mature student' so it might be worth seeing if there are any bursaries targeted at mature students you can apply for. Other than that, if the college can't help, you can look for bursaries from other sources. There are all sorts of ones, for example my local council had a bursary that was a result of someone leaving money in their will to be paid to everyone from my town who went onto further education. As a more bizarre one, the vegetarian charity offers bursaries for students who are vegetarians .. Definitely worth considering if you don't eat meat, especially being an animal related course! Try your local council, or just google for scholarships or bursaries, try looking specifically for conservation bursaries or for your local area. There may well be some charities or organisations in that area of work that offer things. As a struggling student with no help, I tried all of these things! Good luck!

  2. Have you looked into the Open University courses? You will still have to pay but it will be a lot less than a full time course. It's sad to hear this and I'm guessing you are not the only person this is affecting. I wish you lots of luck and hope you find a bursary or scholarship to help Karen x

  3. That cost is incredible - I'd probably contact the course provider and ask what they can do for you.

    Lizzie Dripping

  4. First off, I think getting in touch with a course leader at a university would be a good way to go. They could tell you what requirements there are to get onto a wildlife conservation degree course- I know the standard is with a levels or equivalent but they do consider mature students with relevant experience so that could be an option for you.
    There were a few mature students on my course who hadn't got a levels, but had done an access course so that could be another route. Is uni something you're interested in? Can't believe how much those course fees are its ridiculous! Really hope things sort themselves out for you :) x


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