07 Jun 2012

Open University launches new ‘Ways to Pay’ video for new part-time students in England

New video shows how affordable part-time study is

New video shows how affordable part-time study is

The Open University has released a video to highlight the different ways new undergraduate students in England can pay for part-time study from September 2012, when higher education funding changes come into effect.

Ways to Pay takes students on a whistle-stop tour through the Government’s tuition fee loans, financial support for students with low incomes, the OU’s own loan system, employer sponsorship and paying upfront.

Bev Stewart, Director, Student Recruitment and Financial Support, says: “Recent research showed that 71% of people considering access to Higher Education in England are either unsure or feel they don’t have enough information about the study funding options available to them*. There is a perception that the increase in university fees has made university study inaccessible for many, but this isn’t the case. There is a wide range of payment options for new part-time students which means cost shouldn’t be a barrier to gaining a university-level education.”

These options include the Government’s tuition fee loans, which have been opened up to new part-time students for the first time from September 2012.

Bev explains, “Tuition fee loans are the most popular payment method for full-time students. However, we know this is a new and unfamiliar option for many potential part-time students. Access to the Government’s loan system will mean that the majority of new part-time students won’t have to pay their fees upfront. Our video outlines what loans mean to part-time students to widen awareness of this option.

“We also look at the other flexible payment options open to part-time students. At The Open University, for example, we have our own unique loan system, OUSBA, ideal for those who want to spread the cost of their fees throughout each module they study. OUSBA is also a cost-effective alternative for those who aren’t eligible for Government loans, such as those who already hold a degree and postgraduate students. Students can also seek sponsorship from their employer – 10 per cent of our students already study this way – or pay upfront.

“We are also committed to widening access to higher education and have developed our new Access to Success Route, which is funded by the OU and the Government’s National Scholarship Programme. The Access to Success Route offers a low-cost, low-risk entry route into university study. It is designed for people on low incomes – with a household income of less than £25,000 – who are new to higher education, and who do not have the qualifications traditionally required for university entry. This Route helps individuals develop the skills and confidence to achieve a university level qualification whilst removing the barrier of cost for the first two steps of their learning journey.”

Ways to Pay can be found here:

Over 250,000 students are currently studying with The Open University, the UK’s largest university and a leader in flexible part-time education. Over 70 per cent of the OU’s students earn while they learn, balancing study with other commitments and the University has been ranked in the top three universities for satisfaction in the National Student Survey since it began in 2005.


*Research commissioned by The Open University in April 2012 showed that 71% of people interested in entering Higher Education in England were either unsure or felt they didn’t have enough information around the funding options available to them. Research undertaken by DJS Research on behalf of The Open University. Sample: 1,590 respondents who were interested in studying at University in the next five years.

Notes to editors
In July 2011, the OU announced its new undergraduate fee level of £5,000 for a full-time year (120 credits). An honours degree is made up of 360 credits and the average rate of study is 60 credits per year.

The Government’s Part-time Tuition Fee Loans are open to new students starting their studies after September 2012, and are studying towards their first undergraduate qualification or a qualification that is higher than any they already hold.

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