07 May 2014

Free places offered on new starter courses by The Open University

The Open University (OU) is extending an opportunity to people wishing to take their first steps into higher education by offering 5,000 free places to those eligible on its new broad-based starter courses.

Three new courses, known as Access modules, are available to anyone living in the UK, which provide an entry route into OU study and introduce a number of wide-ranging subjects. The OU has committed £3 million to support up to 5,000 places for qualifying students to take up a place.

Access 30-credit modules offer an ideal starting point for those new or returning to education. They are designed to build learners’ confidence and equip them with all the necessary study skills to progress successfully towards a qualification. Replacing the former Openings courses, the new Access modules will allow students to make more informed choices about what they may go on to study. Available now to register, the courses begin in October and comprise:

• Arts and languages Access module (code Y031)
• People, work and society Access module (code Y032)
• Science, technology and maths Access module (code Y033)

Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor, The Open University, said: “For more than 40 years The Open University has prided itself on being accessible to anyone who has a desire to learn, regardless of their background. Today, as the economy starts to recover, it is more important than ever that this commitment continues. These courses represent a significant reflection of the University’s ongoing mission to remove barriers and support those who can all too often feel excluded.”

To read more about the Access courses use the link (appropriate to the country in which study is undertaken)


Notes to Editors
About Access Modules

• Part of The Open University’s mission is to widen access to Higher Education. Overall, the University has committed £6 million to delivering Access modules by offering 5,000 free places and setting the cost to fee paying students at half the amount of any other OU 30-credit modules.
• Access modules are aimed at those who may have low or no qualifications and who may lack confidence to study at this level. They are also designed to help people to refresh and enhance their study skills, enabling students to be much better prepared for future successful study. They reflect the OU’s continued commitment to widening participation and social inclusion.
• The new Access modules were developed to replace the OU’s previous offer of 15-credit Openings modules, following the changes to funding and policy, primarily in England.
• Access modules can be studied as stand-alone courses or as an additional preparatory stage of a student’s chosen qualification. They are loan-eligible in England and Wales and there are other ways to pay, including paying in full up-front or by instalments. Students in Scotland may be able to apply for an individual learning account to help with the cost of Access modules.
• On successful completion Access students will gain an OU Access Module Certificate.
• For eligibility criteria refer to the OU website pages.

Statistics on OU students

• For over 40 years the OU’s part-time, flexible learning model has been playing a pivotal role in enhancing social mobility in the UK by enabling individuals, regardless of their background, to fulfil their potential and earn a degree.

• 20% of the OU’s newest undergraduate students are from the 25% most disadvantaged communities in the UK.

• Almost a third of OU students belong to routine or manual socio-economic groups.

• The OU has the largest disabled student community of any UK university, with around 20,000 of its students declaring a disability.

• Without the OU, 75% of the OU’s ‘widening participation’ students say they would not have gone to university at all.

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