Financial assistance comes in two primary forms: Grant programs and loan programs. Grant programs consist of money the student receives to pay for higher education that does not need to be paid back, while loan programs consist of money the student receives to pay for higher education that must be paid back. Public higher education institutions (which are partially funded through state government appropriation) and private higher education institutions (which are funded exclusively through tuition and private donations) offer both grant and loan financial assistance programs. Grants to attend public schools are distributed through federal and state governments, as well as through the schools themselves; grants to attend private schools are distributed through the school itself (independent organizations, such as charities or corporations also offer grants that can be applied to both public and private higher education institutions).  Loans can be obtained publicly through government sponsored loan programs or privately through independent lending institutions.
The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a qualification which prepares people without traditional qualifications for study at university. If you would like to go to university but left school without the qualifications you need, then an Access to HE course could be for you. There is no upper-age limit for Access to HE courses, most Access to HE courses can be completed in one year. Most courses are part time and students can complete the course in one year, but this does not mean that you will be in college all day throughout the week.