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Open university

sandrajane19 Member Posts: 12 Listener
edited April 2019 in Education
Hi. Hope someone can help me. I've been thinking about an open university course. Been bringing kids up the last 35 years. Now want to do something for me. Cant work due to illness. Just wondered what will I be about to claim if I take out a student loan. I'm currently claiming universal credit


  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,946 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @sandrajane19 Its great to hear that you would like to study! What course are you interested in? I will tag @rebecca_scope who previously worked for the Open University as an Educational Advisor and I'm sure she will be more than happy to offer you advice :)
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • sandrajane19
    sandrajane19 Member Posts: 12 Listener
    That's great thank you. I'm not 100% sure what I want to do yet. With me not learning for a long time I want to start with with an access course. I've decided on the people. Work and society course. But the only way to get it free is to sign up for a degree course at the same time. I'd like to do something to do with helping people with benefits and that sort of thing. But thought I'd better check what I can claim while I'm doing a course 
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,676 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @sandrajane19
    There is some information here on the Turn2Us website, they say:

    Can full-time students claim Universal Credit?

    If you are a student, you can only claim Universal Credit if:

    • You are under 21, doing a course that will lead to a qualification at the same level as or below A levels (such as Scottish Highers, NVQ up to level 3), and do not and cannot live with your parents; or
    • You are responsible for a child; or
    • You get Attendance AllowanceDisability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and you have limited capability for work. (This can be complicated – find an adviser); or
    • You are over Pension Credit age; or
    • You live with a partner who can claim Universal Credit; or
    • You have taken time out from your course for illness or caring responsibilities, are now recovered/your caring responsibilities have ended, and you are waiting to go back to your course.
    It would be worth speaking to a benefits advisor or the CAB about this.
    Senior online community officer
  • atlas46
    atlas46 Member Posts: 826 Pioneering
    Hi @sandrajane19

    Have a look at the Workers Education Association web and telephone them on 0300 303 3464.

    They are very keen to get adults into education and many courses are free and do lots of grants for disabled people.

    Some of their courses, will count for an OU degree.

    Keep us informed.

    Best wishes
  • sandrajane19
    sandrajane19 Member Posts: 12 Listener
    Thank you. I had an appointment with my job coach today. Even he wasn't sure. So he said he'd do some research and see me next month to let me know what he finds out
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    edited June 2019
    Hi @sandrajane19, it’s actually quite complex and depends on where in the UK you are as well.

    For a bricks-and-mortar university you would have to apply for student maintenance loan etc which are deducted as income from Universal Credit and taken off your award £ for £. 
    The Open University works differently and you can’t currently get maintenance loans etc. The tuition fee loan gets paid straight to the OU so is disregarded. The difficulty is depending where you are in the UK, as Scotland and Wales have different grants and student loans available for Open University students. 

    Your best bet is to look at the OU site and determine which means of financial support would apply to you and then look at how each may affect your UC.

    The Open University student advisors are often very knowledgeable and would be able to give you more detailed advice on this too. 
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  • Rebecca_Scope
    Rebecca_Scope Scope helpline Posts: 1 Connected

    Hi @sandrajane19

     It's great to hear that you are thinking about studying and doing something for yourself! 

    An Access Course is the perfect place to start if you haven’t studied for a while.  You will need to link it to a qualification like a  degree or a certificate if you want to apply for a student tuition fee loan.  The Open University advisers on 01908 659253 can talk over your options with you.   

    Open University students can apply for a tuition fee loan, which covers the cost of the fees.  As @Adrian_Scope says, OU students cannot apply for the maintenance loans that students at traditional bricks and mortar universities receive.   This means that your Universal Credit should not be affected. 

    Open University courses are taught through distance learning and are classed as part-time study. 

    OU students can also apply for Disabled Students Allowances.  This is funding to help with the extra costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability. You can get the allowances on top of your other student finance. You will not need to repay DSAs. 

    There are other options, like the Workers Education Association, so do take some time to look around and find the best thing for you. 


  • sandrajane19
    sandrajane19 Member Posts: 12 Listener
    Hi @rebecca_scope. Thanks for that. I called OU yesterday and arrange to do a degree course after doing an access module. The lady I spoke was very nice. She said shed put the forms in the post for to gill in to get the access module free. She also told me about the DSA as well as I'm partially sighted so she told me to look into that. My job centre coach said hed also look into my cousre affecting my UC. My access module eont as that's only 9 hours a week
  • atlas46
    atlas46 Member Posts: 826 Pioneering
    Hi @sandrajane19

    Just another train of thought about your interest in providing welfare benefits advice.

    Have you thought of becoming a volunteer at your local CAB or Community Law Centre?

    I was the chair of my local CAB for a number of years and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

    They provide full training, supervision, and travel expenses.

    All full time staff usually start off as a volunteer.

    Just a thought and it would link in with your study plans.

    Hope this helps.
  • Tink2019
    Tink2019 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hi! I’m a OU student. I started my degree before I got as unwell as I am now however when I was on JSA it didn’t affect it as it is part time and you can do it anywhere (it isn’t 100% set times as in you have to be there for certain times.) didn’t know if that helps at all?
  • sandrajane19
    sandrajane19 Member Posts: 12 Listener
    Thank you @Tink2019. From what everyone has said I should be ok
  • ScoliFibroGirl
    ScoliFibroGirl Member Posts: 54 Courageous
    The Open University sounds like a great idea, but I would suggest you consider Derby Online for your degree, only because I was a student at the OU and I,  found it really difficult, it wasn't the workload that was difficult, it was the lack of support fro tutors, forums and universities "social network" and plus when they had seminars/lecturers online it didn't feel the same as being in a physical place and the software was absolutely useless to download and use. When I first started in 2008, the website was really great it was really easy I knew was I was doing, I had a calendar that was printed for me and it all came in one box shipment every couple of months, but as the years progressed they complicated so the online system was less user friendly, you didn't have the print out stick-on wall-calendar as it was modernized to just online calendar and videos on their website do not always play... so I ended up just reading the script..
    one thing I did find out about contacting the tutors was that I spent a lot of time sending emails, didn't get many replies..... it can be very depressing at times.
  • seanmurray1987
    seanmurray1987 Member Posts: 2 Listener

    Hey Sandra,

    How did you get on with your query? I'm in a similar situation to yourself and want to get some clarity from others as UC and OU aren't very helpful at the moment.


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