The Student Room Group
Student at the Open University
Open University
Milton Keynes

Studying 120 credits as a 16 year old Care Leaver

I am 2 days too late to apply for the Care Experienced Student Scholarship. I love self directed learning, whereas I hate being in a class of teenagers. How can I get funding to study at the OU instead of College/6th Form?
Reply 1
Read this:
https://help.open.ac.uk/documents/policies/admission-of-applicants-under-the-age-18/files/2/admission-under-18.pdf
particularly section 7.

I suspect this is going to get complicated unfortunately.
A few questions which might affect your options:

(1) Do you need support with living costs, or just tuition fees?
(2) Do you intend to a complete a degree with the OU, or just study 120 credits and use that to enter a brick uni?
(3) Have you looked into distance learning for A-levels instead? I know that's an option, but not sure what the funding situation is.
Student at the Open University
Open University
Milton Keynes
Reply 2
I know I can do the Undergraduate degree course. I am allowed and I am able. Children's Services cover my living expenses. I don't know how I can pay the tuition fee.

I don't want to do A levels. I am after a specific course and I aim to complete the degree or use my credits to get into a brick university at 19. So I have 3 years in which I can complete a degree at 120 credits per year if I start now.
Original post by Anonymous
I know I can do the Undergraduate degree course. I am allowed and I am able. Children's Services cover my living expenses. I don't know how I can pay the tuition fee.

I don't want to do A levels. I am after a specific course and I aim to complete the degree or use my credits to get into a brick university at 19. So I have 3 years in which I can complete a degree at 120 credits per year if I start now.

In that case, if you complete the degree by 19 you can apply to postgraduate degree at brick university, whether Masters or directly into PhD.

It's actually quite unusual to start a degree at 16 and completing a degree at 19, with good grades - usually they start at 18.
But don't worry you'd be fine. I'm also perhaps starting a degree at 16 this year so you're not alone.

Good luck! For a levels the thing is it takes more time. For the OU degree in 3 yrs you can get a bachelors' while for 2 yr A-level you still need 3 more years to get a bachelor (so 2 more years).
Reply 4
I guess I am not the usual 16 year old.

Good luck to you too! I guess funding tuition fees isn't an issue for you.
Reply 5
Original post by Anonymous
I don't know how I can pay the tuition fee.

It should be possible to get a student loan or grant provided you aren't in Scotland (and I assume you're not since you mentioned 6th form). Section 7 of the document I linked explains this.

"I aim to complete the degree or use my credits to get into a brick university at 19"

You need to be aware that if you complete an OU degree then you won't generally be eligible for further student loans to attend an undergraduate course at a brick uni. Even if you don't complete the degree, it will still have an impact. In particular, I think you need to avoid accepting any qualification (even a CertHE) from the OU if you intend to go to brick uni later.

SFE allows for one "gift year". I think you can use this to fund your OU studies if you do the following:

* Register for a degree or DipHE, but NOT a CertHE, with the OU
* Study 120 OU credits full-time, completing them within one academic year
* Stop studying with the OU and avoid requesting or accepting any qualification from them
* Apply to a brick uni using your 120 credits as an entrance qualification
* Complete the brick uni degree without failing any year or otherwise needing your "gift year", since you already used it to fund the OU

You should verify this plan with the OU, SFE, and ideally some brick unis. There are other issues you might run into- for example, although many unis do accept 120 OU credits in lieu of A-levels, this is usually in the context of mature students rather than 17/18/19yos so you should ask them whether it would still be an acceptable entrance qual.

Alternatively, like justlearning said, you could complete a whole degree with the OU and then do a brick postgrad. You should think very carefully about this in case you later regret missing out on the whole "young adult brick uni undergrad experience", although I know that's not for everyone anyway.

Out of curiosity, what are you planning to study?
Original post by pmd_qwe
It should be possible to get a student loan or grant provided you aren't in Scotland (and I assume you're not since you mentioned 6th form). Section 7 of the document I linked explains this.

"I aim to complete the degree or use my credits to get into a brick university at 19"

You need to be aware that if you complete an OU degree then you won't generally be eligible for further student loans to attend an undergraduate course at a brick uni. Even if you don't complete the degree, it will still have an impact. In particular, I think you need to avoid accepting any qualification (even a CertHE) from the OU if you intend to go to brick uni later.

SFE allows for one "gift year". I think you can use this to fund your OU studies if you do the following:

* Register for a degree or DipHE, but NOT a CertHE, with the OU
* Study 120 OU credits full-time, completing them within one academic year
* Stop studying with the OU and avoid requesting or accepting any qualification from them
* Apply to a brick uni using your 120 credits as an entrance qualification
* Complete the brick uni degree without failing any year or otherwise needing your "gift year", since you already used it to fund the OU

You should verify this plan with the OU, SFE, and ideally some brick unis. There are other issues you might run into- for example, although many unis do accept 120 OU credits in lieu of A-levels, this is usually in the context of mature students rather than 17/18/19yos so you should ask them whether it would still be an acceptable entrance qual.

Alternatively, like justlearning said, you could complete a whole degree with the OU and then do a brick postgrad. You should think very carefully about this in case you later regret missing out on the whole "young adult brick uni undergrad experience", although I know that's not for everyone anyway.

Out of curiosity, what are you planning to study?

I think it would be better for OP to complete a whole degree with OU and then go for brick uni postgrad. The OU actually isn't that bad of a degree, and at least they'd have a full undergrad which is pretty good, and they can finish their stuff a year or two eaarly.

Wikipedia (not a good source, but a good overview): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_entrance_to_college
Early entrance into college research: https://www.accelerationinstitute.org/Resources/early_college.aspx
Quite positive.

So I would suggest OP to complete a whole degree with the OU and then apply postgrad. I'll do the same but at a red brick uni.
Reply 7
Original post by justlearning1469
I think it would be better for OP to complete a whole degree with OU and then go for brick uni postgrad. The OU actually isn't that bad of a degree, and at least they'd have a full undergrad which is pretty good, and they can finish their stuff a year or two eaarly.

Wikipedia (not a good source, but a good overview): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_entrance_to_college
Early entrance into college research: https://www.accelerationinstitute.org/Resources/early_college.aspx
Quite positive.

So I would suggest OP to complete a whole degree with the OU and then apply postgrad. I'll do the same but at a red brick uni.


Thank you. Doing postgrad at a brick uni makes more sense I was raised by grandparents then various disinterested foster carers so I matured quick. I am not attracted to the student life where most kids have their first taste of freedom and go wild. I am really focused on becoming top of my trade (Cyber Security). OU accept students my age
(Your links are aimed at Americans) although 16-19 year olds qualify for funding at FE colleges- Level 3, OU is level 4 and I don't know if there is funding for a 16-19 year old to study there. I am too young for student loans and sadly I only just found out about the Scholarship, which would have been perfect. 😪
Reply 8
Original post by justlearning1469
The OU actually isn't that bad of a degree, and at least they'd have a full undergrad which is pretty good

Absolutely, didn't mean to imply otherwise! But OP suggested that he/she was at least considering using credits to enter a brick uni undergrad, so I wanted to give some practical advice about how to do that.

Original post by Anonymous
I am too young for student loans

Who has told you this? The OU document I linked says you should be eligible for a loan from 16.

Unless you have made previous enquiries and are certain you aren't eligible for a loan, please read that document thoroughly and then contact both the OU and SFE (or SFW or whoever) as soon as possible. You're cutting it fine if you plan to start this October, even without the complication of being under 18.
(edited 8 months ago)
Original post by Anonymous
Thank you. Doing postgrad at a brick uni makes more sense I was raised by grandparents then various disinterested foster carers so I matured quick. I am not attracted to the student life where most kids have their first taste of freedom and go wild. I am really focused on becoming top of my trade (Cyber Security). OU accept students my age
(Your links are aimed at Americans) although 16-19 year olds qualify for funding at FE colleges- Level 3, OU is level 4 and I don't know if there is funding for a 16-19 year old to study there. I am too young for student loans and sadly I only just found out about the Scholarship, which would have been perfect. 😪

In that case, you aren't interested in student life. I suggest OU for whole degree and then brick uni postgrad. Just make sure you get high grades because OU isn't a great university.

True the links are aimed at Americans, but I'm just saying you're not alone in doing early university and there are many others in similar position in different countries. I just wanted to make you feel less isolated.
Original post by pmd_qwe
Absolutely, didn't mean to imply otherwise! But OP suggested that he/she was at least considering using credits to enter a brick uni undergrad, so I wanted to give some practical advice about how to do that.


Who has told you this? The OU document I linked says you should be eligible for a loan from 16.

Unless you have made previous enquiries and are certain you aren't eligible for a loan, please read that document thoroughly and then contact both the OU and SFE (or SFW or whoever) as soon as possible. You're cutting it fine if you plan to start this October, even without the complication of being under 18.

True, but to me OP isn't very interested in student life so i recommended OP do the OU undergrad and then a postgrad. But still thanks for giving OP advice
Reply 10
From all the research I have done, HE funding for under 18s is a grey area. It looks like you have to be an immigrant to get a loan. 16 year olds are too young to make an enforceable contract so they just get scholarships/bursaries but all 16-19 bursaries and Scholarships are for age FE level 3. Not Level 4+ except discretionary bursaries after you become a student.
Reply 11
Original post by Anonymous
From all the research I have done [...] It looks like

Have you contacted either the OU or your nation's student finance? If not, reach out to both first thing tomorrow. They're the only ones who can give you a definitive answer. If it's a yes, then you would need to start the process moving ASAP to have any hope of starting this Oct.
Original post by Anonymous
From all the research I have done, HE funding for under 18s is a grey area. It looks like you have to be an immigrant to get a loan. 16 year olds are too young to make an enforceable contract so they just get scholarships/bursaries but all 16-19 bursaries and Scholarships are for age FE level 3. Not Level 4+ except discretionary bursaries after you become a student.

True, but unis did give me scholarships even when I went at 15-16 so it's fine.

Plus, though you may have less funding, you'd have 2 years more of working life and you can start your life early, which you like. I think 30,000 pounds a year for two years, so more extra money would make up for it.

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