Can Degree Apprenticeships Save Tuition Fees?

Written by Calvin Bowers

Apprenticeships can be an excellent alternative to undergraduate degrees for a great many reasons. Can degree apprenticeships save tuition fees? Absolutely, that is one of the biggest perks of taking a degree-level apprenticeship. Before getting into this in more detail, it is probably a good idea to explain a bit about the different types of apprenticeship that are available. 

Types of Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are broken down into four different types based on the varying academic level of the qualifications that are attached to them and the resultant entry requirements. They are often referred to by their academic level number or one of the following names: Intermediate, Advanced, Higher and Degree. 

Intermediate Apprenticeships

By far the most popular and common apprenticeship offered, the intermediate apprenticeship allows young people with very few academic qualifications to get their foot in the door in several job roles. Reflecting the lower academic attainment involved, they tend to be in some of the less responsible positions within a company and are often paid less as a result.  

These apprenticeships tend to be the easiest to enter and can act as a springboard to further apprenticeship success when taking a subsequent, higher-level apprenticeship course or as an entry to work. Much like with T-Levels, intermediate apprenticeships are as much about preparing the apprentice for the world of work as learning the skills and knowledge necessary to undertake the job role. It can often be a case of helping the apprentice understand the standards of behaviour required within a workplace. 

Advanced Apprenticeships

The second in the apprenticeship types is the advanced apprenticeship. This corresponds to level three of the educational hierarchy, so once you have successfully completed an apprenticeship at this level, the qualification you receive will be the academic equivalent to two passes at A-Level or a BTEC Diploma. 

The job role for level three or advanced apprenticeships tends to be slightly more demanding than those at level two. The amount of responsibility given to the apprentice may also increase in line with this. 

Higher Apprenticeships

The next increment in academic difficulty is called a higher apprenticeship, and these span levels 4 and 5 educationally, which means they are equivalent to a foundation degree or higher education diploma. 

As with advanced apprenticeships, it is expected that as the academic level of achievement rises, so does the amount of responsibility that the apprentice is given during the on-the-job training for the job role. 

Degree Apprenticeships

These are the highest level that apprenticeships go to academically, and degree apprenticeships can equip you with a level 6 or level 7 qualification. These are equivalent to an Undergraduate Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree, respectively.

The apprenticeships at this level tend to take around 4-5 years to complete and this can be a year or two longer than traditional undergraduate degree courses but the advantage that you have right from the start is that you are working in your chosen field. All the while you are working toward this qualification, you will also be earning money and clocking up experience in your chosen field. 

So… Can Degree Apprenticeships Save Tuition Fees?

Degree apprenticeships are an incredible way to save money on tuition fees as you gain an education which is as good in terms of quality and as valuable academically as having studied full-time at University but without having to find the fees. 

This is a prevalent option for students who come from families that would struggle financially to attend university. It levels the playing field to an extent and opens the door for young, talented people to shape the career that they want rather than having to settle for the one that they can afford. 

There has always been a perception that higher education in the UK is reserved for the elite and the privileged, and to an extent, this is true. Degree Apprenticeships are one way of continuing to prop the door open for young people of all socioeconomic backgrounds to advance in their careers, even without the financial backing of wealthy parents. 

Other Apprenticeship Advantages


Experience is one area where apprentices excel when compared to University graduates. People who have recently graduated from University are at a disadvantage as they may have had to work a job to see them through the Summer break. This job will most likely be completely unrelated to their field of study and will just be something that has been taken in order to get by. 

You can gain experience in the job role that you will go on to fill before you are actually taking on the job role full-time, so you have had a chance to suss everything out in advance. At the same time, your peers on degree courses won’t accrue that same experience. 

Earn as You Learn

Another of the great reasons to start an apprenticeship is that you will be paid for all of the time you are on the apprenticeship. 

Apprenticeships are made up of two main components, the on-the-job training aspect and the off-the-job training component. The on-the-job training takes up around 80% of your time and you will be expected to work closely with your line manager and heed their feedback during this time. The off-the-job training is where you will learn the knowledge and understanding aspects of the job, including the health and safety rules that you are expected to follow. 

This part of the apprenticeship takes up 20% of your time on the apprenticeship. You will be paid for both components of the apprenticeship, so it shouldn’t matter which you are undertaking on a particular day, you should be paid the same for both.  

Save Tuition Fees with a Degree Apprenticeship

In summary, this is an excellent way to gain a degree-level qualification without having the upheaval of going away to university and the massive costs  Most apprenticeships can be done in your local area, with the off-the-job training side often being handled by a Further Education institution in your locality. We have a dedicated apprenticeship jobs board that can help you to find what you are looking for.

Share This Story!

Last Updated: Tuesday April 30 2024
Go to Top