28 Jun 2012

Open University Guarantee to help students in England start studying

The OU Guarantee

The OU Guarantee

The Open University has launched a guarantee to help students in England who are likely to be eligible for a student loan to start studying even if they haven’t received their student loan (tuition fee loan) confirmation before their course starts.

The OU Guarantee
If someone has registered to study with the OU in the academic year 2012/13, passes the OU’s loan eligibility check and applies for a student loan, the OU offers a guarantee that a delay or refusal from Student Finance England won’t stop them from starting their studies and that:

• The OU will cover the cost of their first module if they pass our eligibility check but are unable to obtain a loan when they apply to Student Finance England;
• They can start studying this autumn, even if their loan has yet to be confirmed.

Will Swann, Director, Students, said: “Student loans have been part of full-time university study for years, but they are new to part-time students. We want to reassure students who might be worried that they won’t be approved for a student loan in time, that this doesn’t need to be a barrier to study.

“To help give people the confidence to start studying for a qualification, we’ve put in place the OU Guarantee. If potential students register to start studying for an Open University qualification between September 2012 and August 2013, and if they appear to be eligible for a student loan and apply for one, we will provide them with the reassurance that they can start their studies, no matter what.”

Potential students will initially be able to see if they are likely to be eligible for a student loan if the following three statements are true for them:

1. I am planning to study for an undergraduate qualification
2. I am planning to study my first qualification, or one that is higher than any I already have
3. I am resident in England.

As potential students then go through the process of registering for a qualification and choosing their modules, they will be asked to complete a detailed check to indicate their eligibility for a student loan and therefore the OU Guarantee.

More information is available at:

In May, The Open University launched its Ways to Pay video to help people in England understand the new and different options for funding part-time study with The Open University. As well as the Government’s student loans, the OU offers its own loan system, and its Access to Success Route to help people on low incomes, as well as the opportunity for people to pay upfront if they prefer. In addition, over 10% of OU students are sponsored by their employers. Ways to Pay can be found at:

Notes to editors

The Open University

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.720 million students and has more than 250,000 current students, including 18,475 overseas.

The OU has been one of the top three UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey every year since the survey began in 2005. In 2010/11 it had a 93 per cent satisfaction rating. Over 71% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) the Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 21 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded over 50 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Life, Coast, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.

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