Minimum age

The minimum age to study a degree programme at the university is normally at least 17 years old by the 20 September in the year the course begins. There is no upper age limit. The University will continue to review the minimum age requirement in light of recent changes to national legislation.

In exceptional circumstances the University may waive this requirement for applicants who will be at least 16, but less than 17 years of age on admission, on an individual basis, provided that their parents or guardians have given their written agreement in advance to additional safeguards and requirements as specified in Regulations. These include acknowledging that the University will not act in loco parentis. The following outlines the University procedures for handling applications from candidates who will be under 18 years of age at the start of their course.

  1. UCAS forms for applicants who are under 18 years of age at the start of their chosen course will be highlighted during the scrutineering process.
  2. For applications processed centrally the form will be passed to the department for confirmation that they wish to accept the student. If a department decides that they wish to offer a place to an applicant who will be under 18 years of age on the relevant date, the admissions tutor should return the UCAS form to the Admissions office to process the offer. The admissions assistants should then forward a copy of the UCAS form to the Head of Admissions who will request the necessary parental consent.
  3. On receipt of the signed pro forma of consent from the candidate, the Head of Admissions can act on behalf Deputy Vice-Chancellor to waive the minimum age requirement.
  4. The Director of Student Services’ Office will contact all U18 students at the start of term to ensure that they are aware of the university regulations and any restrictions placed upon them as a result of their age. The Director of Student Services will liaise with the College Masters, the Accommodation Office and School Administrations Managers to ensure they are aware of any U18 students.

Departments that enrol students who are under 18 before the commencement of the degree programme must ensure that the following measures are in place:  

  1. One member of academic staff should be put forward to act as the Academic Adviser for all students who are under 18 and this information provided to the Director of Student Services
  2. An Academic Adviser is not normally required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The Human Resources department will determine whether a staff role should be subject to a DBS check and will communicate this information to departments. The cost of the DBS check will be borne by the University/and or department.
  3. That person should be reminded of the special duty of care owed to underage students and in particular of the offence of abuse of trust under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000.
  4. The Department must ensure that the nominated Academic Adviser is encouraged and given sufficient time away from other duties to be able to meet with their tutees on a more regular basis. An early initial meeting should be followed up by regular individual meetings at least every month in order to establish substantial contact over and above the contact such a student might have with other members of staff in the department.
  5. The Head of Department should ensure s/he is available to discuss any problems or issues the Academic Adviser may wish to raise in respect of under age students.
  6. The Human Resources department, working closely with Student Services and the Unit for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, will support Academic Advisers by providing information, advice and training for this aspect of their work.

Guidance notes for parents and guardians

The University of Kent is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all its students but has particular responsibilities in relation to those who are under 18 years of age on entry. Such students are regarded as children under UK law. We therefore ask that you consider the following points before deciding whether to proceed with your son/daughter's application to the University:  

  1. The University cannot assume parental responsibility for a student under the age of 18. Students and their families should bear in mind that the University of Kent is an adult environment. Students are expected to behave like adults and to assume adult levels of responsibility. Students are expected to have the necessary skills to study and live independently alongside people from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. Places are offered at Kent on the understanding that the student will be able to adapt to living away and deal with the practicalities this will involve. The University will allocate a personal tutor who has responsibility for younger students but will otherwise expect those under 18 to behave in the same way as adult students. On reaching the age of 18 these arrangements will cease and the student will be expected to relate to the University as an adult.
  2. In rare instances, consent for emergency medical treatment may be required before parents or guardians can be contacted. The University therefore requires parents to give their consent that, in the case of such an emergency, the University has parental permission to act on medical advice and do what is in the best interests of the child.
  3. Parents are responsible for ensuring that the University has been informed of any special needs or requirements.
  4. As a general rule, those under the age of 18 are unable to enter into contracts. Where these are required, for tuition fees or accommodation for example, the University requires parents to act as guarantors. This means that parents must pay any sums agreed under a contract if the student fails to do so. Failure to pay debts due to the University could result in the student's enrolment at the University being suspended.
  5. Although those under 18 are regarded as children under the law, they still have the right under the Data Protection Act for information about them not to be disclosed without their consent. This means that the University is not able to give information to parents regarding the student's progress, results or any other personal circumstance unless the student has given his/her written consent.
  6. All under 18 students registered with the University of Kent will be subject to the University’s rules and regulations.
  7. Students under the age of 18 will not be able to purchase alcohol and may not drink alcohol on university premises. All students are subject to random checks in relation to their age when using licensed University facilities.
  8. Students under the age of 18 will not be able to hold office in University or Students' Union clubs and societies and their participation in certain activities may be limited. If parents are unwilling for their son or daughter to participate in activities such overnight field trips, they must contact the University to discuss this before any offer is accepted. If this would, in the University's reasonable opinion, have a significant detrimental effect on the student's experience of university life, the University reserves the right to amend an offer so as to admit the student only once he or she reaches 18.
  9. Where parents are not resident in the UK, it will be necessary to appoint a guardian for a student under 18 on entry. The University requires the contact details for this person and must be sure that they have agreed to act in this capacity. Being a guardian involves carrying out the tasks and responsibilities of the parent as delegated by the child's parents. As such it is a private arrangement between the parent and the guardian. The University is not able to assist parents in finding a suitable guardian but for those families who do not have friends or relatives in the UK, a list of accredited agencies can be obtained from The Association of Educational Guardians for International Students (AEGIS) Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1453 755160 Email:

The list is also available at The Association of Educational Guardians for International Students (AEGIS)

Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1453 755160 


Please contact the Head of Information, Recruitment & Admissions Office if you wish to discuss your application in further detail.  

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