A level route or Foundation Degree Programme

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LewSword
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Hi, I have been weighing up my options to study physics seen as though some people thought it would be better and cheaper for me to get the A level in Physics first instead of taking a foundation degree programme which i have also been offered this year. So i have checked both out and the choices seem to be as follows:

A level choice
With maintenance grants changing to maintenance loans i could do the A level at college in 2015/16 (£1000 roughly of own money) then do a straight 3 year degree course (£27,000 student tuition loan) and so all in all be in debt £27,000, providing i didnt take the maintenance loans that will be available in 2016/2017.

Foundation Degree Programme offered by University
If i did the foundation degree in 2015/16 (providing the maintenance grant is still available for the full 4 years doing a foundation degree with Queen Mary which im currently not certain of) it would mean 4 years of degree study (£36,000 student tuition loan) but also maintenance grants for 4 years (£13,548) with the possible addition of adult dependancy grant which im told i will probably be elligible for (£11,028) so all in all be in debt of still £36,000 but will have also received around £24,000 in grant that i do not have to pay back.

As there is no penalty for paying back the tution fee early i could theoretically pay £9000 from the £24000 maintenance grant (after saving up through the four years) and have £27,000 debt left but also have received £15,000 extra worth of support.

I intend to live at home and work a few hours regardless of my choice but even if i tried to struggle through the a level route i may even need to take a student maintenance loan when completing the degree. I would therefore accrue even more debt that would need to be paid off later in working life.

I understand that if i was to perform well in the A level route and get an "A" grade i may be applicable for a scolarship at a University (considering my other a levels are at AAB grade), but it is uncertain that i will perform so well (though i would try my very best) and it is also uncertain that i would get a scholarship above anyone else.

So overall i guess my question to you is will the proposed academic benefit of the A level route, outweigh the cost benefit of the foundation degree programme?

Please let me know if i should post this else where or if any information or estimates are wrong here. I don't have much time to sort this out so any help is much appreciated.

Thanks.
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Klix88
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Have you established whether the A Level route is an option for your chosen degree course? From your post you appear to be a mature student and many unis prefer an Access course to additional A Levels from mature students.

I can't really comment on your personal financial situation, or your preferences to the debt which will inevitably arise from uni study. That really is a personal decision. If it were me, I'd focus on whatever route I thought I'd be most successful at - whatever the level of debt, it will be a waste of money if you don't achieve what you want to at uni. I'd take the Foundation course on offer, simply because it would better prepare me for the following degree, which an extra A Level really wouldn't.

But if you haven't already, do please check back with the uni about the A Level route. The advertised UCAS points/A Levels don't generally apply to mature entrants.
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LewSword
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Thank you for the reply. Well because i don't hold the A level in physics i figured that the Foundation Programme would be the best method for me to obtain the degree. The degree i want to do is Physics by the way. However speaking to the head of physics at Queen Mary he recommended that i actually do an A level first and then apply for a BSc Physics degree straight after. As i want to do a physics degree and build a career in it, the A level route certainly will let me do that and have a wider array of Universities to choose from (i have only found one Uni doing a foundation programme in London but there are a good few doing Physics BSc). The head of physics has offered me a place on the foundation programme but i just thought i would check out other options and peoples views. I'm awaiting there response to my questions too.

Again thanks for your input Klix.
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applicationa
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Remember that the 2016/17 maintenance loans will be larger than the 2015/16 maintenance loan and grant combined, so you'd actually have more money to live off while studying (and more debt at the end, but student loan debt is not like normal debt.)

Klix is right though, the UCAS points tariffs only apply to school leavers, so getting an A level won't automatically make you eligible for a place, and often scholarships are also only available to school leavers as well. I think a Foundation Degree would leave you better prepared for going on to the BSc than college study would.

Don't let student loan debt put you off, it's not like a normal loan, it's more like an extra income tax band.
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