Is it Actually Worth It?..

By the end of this article, I hope like me you don’t see the value in colleges in the UK awarding the HND (Higher National Diploma). I originally came across this qualification at the end of my Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT at New College Stamford. My lecturer at the time mentioned that the college had the opportunity to obtain university status, this would mean that the college could have the power to award degree level qualifications (level 6 at a university).

I thought it was worth the time and effort to obtain a degree locally and seemed a good choice. This however, was not the case, and now I wish I had chosen a different path. During the course we were given units and assignments that required intensive effort to ensure you had wrote the relevant topics and completed sufficient research to meet the grade.

After completing the course gaining distinction a friend informed me that his university coursework was far less intensive and had a mixture of practical units with short concise essays. This for me was very bad news because of all the time and effort that I put into my work.

Additionally, the potential of university status had gone completely, meaning that I wasn’t able to finish with a degree either. The reason why I’ve wrote this article is because I don’t want anyone else to make the same mistakes as me. I should have gone to university or a degree awarding college, because it would have saved a lot of time and effort and I would have received what I originally intended.

The fees for joining onto HND are not cheap either, this year (2017) the fees for entering on my previous course are £6500 per year. The course lasts two years meaning that by the end of your second year you will have £13000 in course related debts alone. if you include the £3,548 in maintenance loans per year for books and other student requirements that is a grand total of £20,097 in student debt without being awarded a degree, I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of money to pay for an incomplete degree.

If you were to go and top-up at university to a full degree the debt would be a massive £37,077 to £40,349. The new limit for universities in the UK is £9,250 (as of 2016), which is expensive and with other student loans the debt will be quite high, but at least you will have a highly recognised qualification of a bachelor's degree and you won’t need to worry about top-up courses or having to redo or complete more modules from your previous two years to match the universities specifications for the course.

I find it very troubling to see promotions such as this :

mainly because it misleads the potential student by making them think that a college without any status has the ability to award university level (level 6) qualifications which couldn’t be further from the truth. The actual fact of the matter is that Edexcel (the governing body for rewarding HND) limits the college to what they can reward unless they partner with a university, however in this promotional picture a lot of students will be ill informed by statements such as:


that a college such as New College Stamford is under university status when it is not. HND isn’t worth your time or money because there is no standard bachelor’s degree after completion, just a level 5 qualification that needs to be topped up and additionally more work and effort for you especially when topics, assignments and units have to be revisited because they weren’t covered correctly in the HND or not at all.

However, if you want to go into the workplace I would suggest that you either opt for internships or apprenticeships because then you can work your way up and your time will be a lot more rewarding than if you chose HND, and ultimately you’ll find more value and fulfillment progressing in your career than just digging yourself into a hole which you have to try and escape from at university.


Don’t go onto HND (Higher National Diploma) at a college if you want a degree, go to either a university status college (such as University Centre Peterborough) or university. Finally if you want to go into the workplace definitely don’t go on HND, the little to no work experience they do offer won’t be of value to you and you could probably better their offerings using a quick Indeed search. In conclusion HND isn’t worth it, and should not be attempted by anyone that wants to foster progression in their life, if I make some impact on only a few people I will be truly very happy.