Why should I do an Open University course?
For school leavers, there are many options available. Many people go straight into work, some take a gap year, and others head off to their first year of University. Some will enter graduate jobs, or work their way up from an apprenticeship position.
However, once you’re juggling financial and personal commitments like a career, house, and family, it can be difficult to envision ever getting back into the world of academia.
Some school leavers may find that once they’ve established their status as a full-time worker, they’ve given up entirely on the idea of going to University.
That’s why the Open University (OU) was established by the Royal Charter in 1969. It is a flexible and innovative University that allows students to study part-time, at their own pace, and sometimes remotely or with limited campus contact.
What does the OU offer?
The OU offers over 180 courses ranging from 1-year qualifications to full Honours degrees, as well as Masters and PhD qualifications. On top of that, it functions primarily by employing a ‘distance learning’ technique, where students can take from 3 to 16 years to finish their course and learn remotely.
What are the entry requirements?
Depending on the course you’re wishing to study, you may be able to get onto a course without needing A-levels or any previous qualifications. You’ll just need to prove that you’re confident you can cope with the level of undergraduate study.
For those of you that don’t feel confident with this, you may be able to take an Access to Higher Education course prior to your degree. They help get you up to speed with everything you’ll need to know before you start to study a full-blown degree, and can be really helpful if you’re looking to study something that’s new to you, or if you’ve been out of education for a significant period of time.
Why should I study an OU degree?
Open University degrees are recognised worldwide, just like degrees from traditional universities. They aim to provide a study option that works around you, as well as supported study (either in person, over the internet, or both).
The OU is a world leader in distance education, and the largest academic institution within the UK, and have trained employees from the likes of IBM, the NHS, the FTSE, and MOD.
How do I pay for an Open University degree?
Open University degrees are slightly cheaper than normal degrees, although the amount you pay will depend on how long you’re studying for.
The total cost of studying a 3-year degree at a traditional UK university is capped at £9,250 per year. However, living costs and other financial obligations take this up to around £22,200 per year; a figure which is significantly higher if you choose to study and live in London.
Comparably, the OU is cheaper, although it depends (as with a traditional degree) on the course that you decide to take. OU degrees are priced in modules. Each course contains a varying number of modules, and by adding up the cost of each you will find the total cost.
Modules are priced in terms of credits. 30-credit modules cost around £1,464, and 60-credit modules are around £2,928.
So, for example, if you studied an honours degree part-time with one 60-credit module each year, you’d be paying around £2,928 p/a. After six years, this cost would total at £17,568 – around two-thirds of the cost of an equivalent degree studied at a traditional university, and with a lot more time to yourself!
Bear in mind that although you can access Student Finance to pay for your tuition, you might not need to borrow as much as a student studying on campus. This is because you may be able to hold down a full-time job whilst you study, and you won’t need to borrow much towards a maintenance loan.
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