A unique partnership between The Open University (OU) and retail giant Tesco has taken a top prize in the UK’s prestigious education awards, announced last night at a ceremony in Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
The partnership allows Tesco shoppers to exchange their Clubcard Vouchers for full or part payment towards their OU undergraduate courses, providing much needed financial relief during the current “credit crunch” according to Open University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brenda Gourley.
“The partnership allows prospective students the opportunity to gain access to our courses without incurring any debt,” Professor Gourley said.
“Clearly in times of economic stress, like we currently have, people look to education to improve their employment prospects or retain their employability.”
“However, accessing world-class education is not always affordable so this partnership helps make it accessible without creating an additional financial burden.”
Awarded the ‘Marketing Initiative of the Year’ at last night’s Times Higher Education Awards, this partnership with Tesco has been in operation since 2007.
Tesco Clubcard director Janet Smith said the partnership is the only one of its kind in the UK and is open to every one of its 13.5 million members:
“Tesco is very proud to be involved with the OU on this programme, which allows millions of people the opportunity to meet the cost of tertiary education and to get on in life,” she said.
“It’s very encouraging the partnership has been recognised in this way. The Open University has an excellent reputation and with the reach of Tesco Clubcard we hope the success of the programme will continue and its appeal widen further still,” added Janet Smith.
The fourth annual Times Higher Education Awards ceremony recognised the ground-breaking work undertaken by UK higher education institutions. More than 130 institutions submitted entries for the 18 categories which included Best Student Experience, University of the Year, Outstanding Student Financial Support Package, Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community, Marketing Initiative of the Year and Outstanding Support for Disabled Students.