Mature Students

Mature Students are those who began their studies at the University of Greenwich after the age of 21. Mature students have particular shared experiences while at Greenwich, we really recognise and value that, but we also want to encourage you to not see it as a barrier to participation. We hope you get involved here at GSU!

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The Students’ Union – more than Club 18-21!

According to UCAS, 52% of all students are mature students, defined as being over 21 when their course started, and one in ten of mature students are over 40.  As mature students, you’ve got life experience to bring to your academic studies and to the University community, and you’re used to taking responsibility for dealing with any issues that might arise.  Equally, some of you may have been some time away from formal studies.  You may be wondering how you’re going to fit in with younger students, and may be worried about how you’ll fit in your studies with family and other commitments. 

This short guide isn’t going to answer every possible question, but it may give you some ideas, and we’ve given links for further information.  And if you need more specific information or advice on your personal situation, contact our Advice Service for free, independent, confidential and high-quality advice.

We want mature students to feel welcome at Greenwich and in the Students’ Union.  If you want to find out what’s on offer, see our website for events and services, and get in touch.

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Click here for information on Study Skills & Guidance, support for Disabled students, English & Maths Skills, and what to do if you’re having problems with your studies. We strongly encourage students to speak to their Personal Tutor if they are struggling, and if you’re not sure what to do, contact your local Students Union Adviser.

If you have personal difficulties affecting your studies, it’s your responsibility to notify the University at the time to get support. Check the Extenuating Circumstances Procedure for reporting problems affecting exams and assignments.

Are you entitled to financial support for child care through benefits, Tax Credits or Student Finance? If you’ve got children (or are about to!) are you getting all the financial support you’re entitled to?

If you’re not sure, contact the University’s Student Finance team for student finance enquiries or your Students’ Union Adviser for advice on benefits and tax credits. Generally, child care costs can only be met if you are using a Registered Child Minder. If you’re dealing with unexpected problems with your children and your studies are affected, inform your Tutor, and if your assignments or exams will be affected, make use of the Extenuating Circumstances procedure (see the Student Services A-Z for the link).

Click here to find local Nurseries in Greenwich and here for information and advice for local parents, from Greenwich Council’s Family Information Service.

If you’re looking for part time work to fit in with your studies, for voluntary experience, or for support to improve your employability, contact the University’s Employability & Careers Service.

Don’t forget your local Students Union for job vacancies! And make use of the Students Union Employability & Volunteering Toolkit, a great way of recording your skills and experience.


Voluntary work undertaken while at University can count towards official recognition through the Students’ Union and the University.

If you’re looking for University accommodation for mature students, consider applying to stay at Devonport House, in central Greenwich. Devonport has wheelchair-accessible rooms. However, Uni accommodation is restricted to students on full time courses. If you want to rent privately in Greenwich, download our short Housing Guide to help you avoid common problems.

If you’ve got problems with your housing, whether it’s finding a place to live, getting evicted from where you’re living, or trying to get your landlord to make it fit to live in, have a look at the website, or contact your local Students’ Union Adviser.

If you’ve chosen to study, you may have needed to give up or reduce your work. You may be eligible for student finance if you’re a Home student, but you may lose other income or benefits.

We’d strongly encourage students to check their financial entitlement before they come to University and to work out a realistic budget. We believe that a single student living on their own in London will typically need about £1000 per month to cover their rent, food and other living costs. If you’ve got children, a partner, or other personal needs, you may need more to live on. From past experience, a lot of students, whether young or older, will get into debt, especially if you’ve got dependent children. Making sure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to and budgeting will help minimise the amount of debt you get into, but if you are struggling to manage, contact your Students’ Union Adviser. We are licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority to give free debt advice to students. We can help you negotiate affordable payments with creditors and advise on your rights to prevent debt enforcement. If you need more help, we can refer you to external (free) specialist money advisers.

For advice on student finance generally contact the Student Finance team.

For advice on benefits and tax credits, and for free debt advice contact your Students Union Adviser. See our website for more information.

If you’re in financial hardship (whether or not you’re in debt), and if you’re a Home student, have you applied to the University’s Access to Learning Fund? If not, why not? And why not now! Go to the Student Services A-Z for the link to apply to the fund, and if you want help with the application, contact your Students’ Union Adviser.

If you want information on healthy living, have a look at our website for links to external websites.

It’s not unusual for many students at University to experience stress or anxiety at times for many different reasons, and all of us come with our ‘baggage’ of our experiences to deal with, as well as try and manage our studies.

If you’re dealing with a disability, a long term health problem or learning difficulties, it’s worth declaring your disability and asking for support through the University’s Wellbeing team. The University offers dedicated Mental Health support, including support for students experiencing anxiety or stress, as well as diagnosed conditions. And if you’re not getting the support you think you need, contact your Students’ Union Adviser.

Useful Links:


Disability & Dyslexia support

Listening Ears(University staff volunteers offering emotional support and signposting to services)

London Nightline: term-time information, support & signposting at evenings and weekends for students, provided by students.

Samaritans: 24-hour emotional support for anyone who needs someone to listen.