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

Open University Full Time?

I have a couple questions regarding Open University, SFE funding, etc…

A bit about my situation - I’m 19, I began university at a standard, non-Russel group university in September 2023. Unfortunately, I had lots of personal problems with mental health, and I also became an estranged student this year. I’m currently homeless due to the estrangement, although staying with friends this summer.

My university support is quite poor, and because of my difficult situation, I took time out of university in earlier this year, and am due to go back in September to repeat 1st year. Due to a lot of problems, I’m not able to get accommodation (the city I’m in is SO expensive, we’re talking £700+ for a simple non-en-suite room), and there’s also no more student halls left. Because of this, I’m not really drawn to going back to that university. Instead, I’m thinking of going to the Open University.

What is funding like? I know you can get a tuition fee loan if you’re studying part time there, but what about full time? Will I still be eligible to get a maintenance loan too, or will I have to work simultaneously whilst studying? I do not want to study part time, ideally, I would like to get my degree completed in three years so I can move onto the next stage of my academic journey!

And this might sound funny but is it completely online? I keep seeing contradicting things saying if you are studying there full time you have to go on campus, but I also see things saying that the degree will be completely online regardless?
I can only speak for Student Finance Wales as that’s with who I had my experience with, but this might still be helpful to know.

I was originally hoping to study full-time with The Open University, but I found out by talking to Student Finance Wales that they can only provide part-time funding (for both Tuition and Maintenance loans). This applies for every OU course, regardless of whether you’re doing it full-time or part-time! I really didn’t think this was fair but I was told that it’s because most people studying with the OU are part-time students so it’s tailored to them, the majority. I have a feeling that it might be the same for Student Finance England, but it might be different so it’s definitely worth checking with them.

Because of this, and the fact that I didn’t want my degree to take 6 years to complete, I deciding that I was going to start at a ‘physical’ university instead so I could get the funding to study full-time.

However, I’m glad that things have worked out as they have now as the university I’ll be going to is really good (not that the OU isn’t!). I should also be getting a Personalised Learning Support Plan from the university to accommodate my needs/reasonable adjustments so I can do as much as possible from home (without missing out on anything) as that’s why I originally wanted to go with the OU!

Regarding your question as to whether it is completely online- pretty much, yes! Though, I can only speak for their BSc Biology degree as that’s what I was looking into. It is all online in the sense that there isn’t a campus to go to for lectures or tutorials etc. So you would do simple at-home ‘experiments’ to aid your learning with household items! There is an option to attend their laboratory in Milton Keynes to get that hands-on lab experience if you wanted it, but it’s not compulsory and it costs extra. I think there might have been a few other optional field-trip-type extras you could do, too, also at an additional costs. So, yes, you can do it completely online/from home, but I’d double check with the specific course you’re planning to do.

Hopefully this helps!
Student at the Open University
Open University
Milton Keynes
Reply 2
Original post by carawynjones
I can only speak for Student Finance Wales as that’s with who I had my experience with, but this might still be helpful to know.
I was originally hoping to study full-time with The Open University, but I found out by talking to Student Finance Wales that they can only provide part-time funding (for both Tuition and Maintenance loans). This applies for every OU course, regardless of whether you’re doing it full-time or part-time! I really didn’t think this was fair but I was told that it’s because most people studying with the OU are part-time students so it’s tailored to them, the majority. I have a feeling that it might be the same for Student Finance England, but it might be different so it’s definitely worth checking with them.
Because of this, and the fact that I didn’t want my degree to take 6 years to complete, I deciding that I was going to start at a ‘physical’ university instead so I could get the funding to study full-time.
However, I’m glad that things have worked out as they have now as the university I’ll be going to is really good (not that the OU isn’t!). I should also be getting a Personalised Learning Support Plan from the university to accommodate my needs/reasonable adjustments so I can do as much as possible from home (without missing out on anything) as that’s why I originally wanted to go with the OU!
Regarding your question as to whether it is completely online- pretty much, yes! Though, I can only speak for their BSc Biology degree as that’s what I was looking into. It is all online in the sense that there isn’t a campus to go to for lectures or tutorials etc. So you would do simple at-home ‘experiments’ to aid your learning with household items! There is an option to attend their laboratory in Milton Keynes to get that hands-on lab experience if you wanted it, but it’s not compulsory and it costs extra. I think there might have been a few other optional field-trip-type extras you could do, too, also at an additional costs. So, yes, you can do it completely online/from home, but I’d double check with the specific course you’re planning to do.
Hopefully this helps!

thank you so much, this really answered my question!! in that case i’ll probably have to try and persist with my current university 🥲

thanks for all the advice!
Original post by Anonymous
thank you so much, this really answered my question!! in that case i’ll probably have to try and persist with my current university 🥲
thanks for all the advice!

You’re very welcome, I’m happy to help. Just have a few things to add as I’ve been thinking about it…

I would definitely try to look into what support your university can offer you, both financially and with your wellbeing, as what you’re going through sounds very stressful and I know what that’s like! It sounds like you already might have done this, though.

Citizen’s Advice might be able to help, too, as they can give you advice on what you might be entitled to which could help financially and help you access support if you need it. Not just regarding university, but also just your general life situation. I’m actually in the process of contacting them myself for advice on my own situation.

The university I’ll be going to (Bangor University) guarantees halls accommodation for all first year students, provided that they want to stay in halls. Personally, I won’t be staying in halls, but I’m aware of this scheme/guarantee they have, so it might be worth checking with your university if they have something similar- again, if you haven’t already.

If you can prove that you’re an estranged student you should be able to get more funding for your maintenance from Student Finance England as you’ll be classed as an independent student. Of course this is if you decide to pursue full-time study at a university that isn’t the OU.

Look into what bursaries your university offers, as many universities offer bursaries for estranged students and grants for students that were homeless before their course.

I hope you’re able to find a solution that works for you🤞you’ve got this!

I also hope that my suggestions don’t come across as I’m suggesting obvious things you’ve already done/tried!

Look after yourself and your mental health x
Reply 4
Original post by Anonymous
I have a couple questions regarding Open University, SFE funding, etc…
A bit about my situation - I’m 19, I began university at a standard, non-Russel group university in September 2023. Unfortunately, I had lots of personal problems with mental health, and I also became an estranged student this year. I’m currently homeless due to the estrangement, although staying with friends this summer.
My university support is quite poor, and because of my difficult situation, I took time out of university in earlier this year, and am due to go back in September to repeat 1st year. Due to a lot of problems, I’m not able to get accommodation (the city I’m in is SO expensive, we’re talking £700+ for a simple non-en-suite room), and there’s also no more student halls left. Because of this, I’m not really drawn to going back to that university. Instead, I’m thinking of going to the Open University.
What is funding like? I know you can get a tuition fee loan if you’re studying part time there, but what about full time? Will I still be eligible to get a maintenance loan too, or will I have to work simultaneously whilst studying? I do not want to study part time, ideally, I would like to get my degree completed in three years so I can move onto the next stage of my academic journey!
And this might sound funny but is it completely online? I keep seeing contradicting things saying if you are studying there full time you have to go on campus, but I also see things saying that the degree will be completely online regardless?
Hey,
You should definitely be able to receive a full tuition loan with student finance I currently study full time with the Open University and do but my circumstances are different to yours so I don’t qualify for a maintenance loan. I do think you could probably access one though have you tried looking on the gov website to see if you meet their criteria.
Even though it’s all online it has a lot of support options if you are having a difficult time and tutors are only an email away. There are online tutorials so you can socially learn with others. I have read about the odd tutorials that you can meet up in person with others which is optional like all tutorials but it’s not often. I’ve never met anyone in person and I’m just close to completing my first year. If you like the independence of studying you’ll enjoy it but if you like the set structure within a universe you may be best suited to there it depends what works for you ☺️.
All the best, good luck with your studies
Melissa
Reply 5
All students that study with The OU are classed as a part time student for student finance purposes, but you can still study full time (120 credits) a year.

My full tuition fee for the year is covered.
Original post by Mark_.
All students that study with The OU are classed as a part time student for student finance purposes, but you can still study full time (120 credits) a year.
My full tuition fee for the year is covered.

So if I study 120 credits a year (3 years instead of 6) then I can still get a tuition fee loan to cover it all? How did you apply for it? and did you face any complications when applying through student finance? Sorry for all the questions I just really want this to work!
Reply 7
You just apply through SFE, select the part time option, give course and institution details, as well as tell them how many credits you will study and its processed.
You won't get the maintenance part unless you are disabled and have evidence to show why you can't attend a brick uni. Even then it is only 2k.

I think with your situation I would get a stable life together before going to study with the OU and it relys on a lot of self study and dedication.

Quick Reply

Latest

Trending

Trending