Higher education

Higher education often refers to studying at university from the age of 18.

If you have an educational health care (EHC) plan, and choose to go to university, your EHC plan will stop. However, there are a variety of funding options and support available to you.


University courses usually take 3 years to complete and can lead to a qualification. They are often located in major towns and cities. To attend you can:

  • move to the town where the university is located
  • stay at home
  • attend an online university.

Find a university outside of Kent and Medway.

Local universities

If you choose to stay at home, you can attend a local university:

Online universities

If you want to attend an online university the Open University may be best for you. It allows you to study full time and part time, which means your studying can fit around your life.

Before you apply

To find out if university is the right path for you, you should:

  • discuss your options with your teacher
  • speak with your careers advisor
  • visit the university's website to find out more about them
  • attend an open day to see the campus and ask any questions you may have. If you cannot attend an open day, check to see if they have a virtual tour on their website. Or you may be able to to arrange a visit on another date.

Each university will have a designated disability team you can contact who will work with you to ensure the necessary support is in place. They may be called different names but the most common are student support, wellbeing team or disability team. To find out more about their support visit the UCAS disabled students support page.

For additional advice and support before you apply, you can visit the:

Apply to university

To apply complete your application via UCAS.

By applying you can let your chosen university know of your needs. This information can help:

  • to put support in place before you arrive
  • any access needs for interviews
  • any requirements needed for open days.

Asking for support on your application

It is strongly advised you share information about the support you need on your application, or as soon as possible. This allows them to make reasonable adjustments and put in the support you're entitled to.

You do not have to tell them about your support, it's your decision. Under the Equality Act 2010, it's unlawful for the university to discriminate against you. If you are worried it will affect your application or you might be treated differently, you don't need to be.

To share the support you need, you can let the university know on your UCAS application. If you share your needs, your chosen university will send you an information pack on what to do next.

Find out more about the process on the UCAS website.

After you have accepted your offer

Once you've accepted your offer, you can contact the university to put support in place. They will be able to let you know about the services and resources available to you. They can also answer any questions you have for your arrival.

Support with transition

To help the move from school or college to university, you may be able to attend a summer school or complete summer courses. The summer activities can help you if you find settling into new environments uneasy. Ask your university or college to check if they can help you.

For support with your transition visit the Student Minds website.

Financial support

You may be able to apply for a student loan to help pay your university fees and living costs. Visit the government website to find out how to apply.

If you have an educational health care (EHC) plan, your EHC plan will stop. To help you during your time at university you may be eligible for:

For more funding support, read the Disability Rights UK factsheet.