Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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PIP & ESA - will this be affected if I go back to studying Part time with OU with a student loan?

Butler356Butler356 Member Posts: 40 Courageous
Would like to do a degree on part time basis with OU, do I have to disclose this, will this affect my allowances in any way. Can't seem to find answer on DWP website, or an email address to ask this question, can you help please?
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Replies

  • Butler356Butler356 Member Posts: 40 Courageous
    I am thinking of furthering my studies and would like to carry out a degree with OU with a student loan on a part time basis due to my disability. Does anyone have experience of this, if so can they let me know it it affects their PIP and ESA allowance. I will need disability support to allow me to complete the studies by way of extra time to complete modules, etc, which I know OU will allow this. Any experience or information relating to this type of enquiry is greatly received. 
  • CaleyCaley Member Posts: 21 Listener
    I'm a part time OU student and only get the tuition fee loan as I've had previous funding for living expense loans and grants from doing a previous full time degree.  I'm on PIP and Income Support and to be honest, haven't even told DWP as I'm not getting any extra income so it wouldn't affect my means tested benefits anyway.  Not sure whether the rules would be different for ESA, but if you're getting anything towards your living expenses you would need to tell them.  I'd ring the OU and have a chat with them about your options for funding, they've always been really helpful when I've got in touch and are very good at supporting disabled students. There is a grant called Disabled Students Allowance which you can get if you need extra support/equipment etc to do your degree, which you don't get personally but will pay directly for whatever you do need, and the OU are brilliant at giving you the help and support you need to apply for it.  I didn't bother as my main issue is my mobility and as it's all done online from home it's not an issue for me,  I've also found the OU generally really helpful and supportive, the tutors are great and there are good online forums to engage with tutors and other students as well, so I'd highly recommend it.
  • Butler356Butler356 Member Posts: 40 Courageous
    Thank you for replying and giving me your experiences for this. I do not get anything towards living expenses and just how my disability affects mobility, weaknesses mainly. I too hope to do studies from home, and see from OU website  that they are very supportive when it comes to disabilities. I will contact OU again and have a general chat about this.  I do hope to get started in October this year! I do not wish to take on living expenses just to go for a student loan for tuition only. All the best with your studies, how long have you been studying with them?
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 1,215 Pioneering
    edited May 3
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/932377/dmgch51.pdf
    Open University students
    51899 A claimant who is on an Open University course will fall within the definition of a student1. Such courses are not F/T and are normally followed at times that would fit in with employment. Most of the course material is done in the person's home and not at an educational establishment however they are still undertaking a course of study. Any award made as a direct result of their participation on the course should be treated as student income in the normal way.

    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • CaleyCaley Member Posts: 21 Listener
    Thanks calcotti for the link, it seems to imply that p/t OU courses don't fall foul of DWP rules if you're not getting any actual funding for the living costs which is good to know.  The tuition fees are paid directly to the university so you never see the money or get any benefit from it, other than it meeting the actual tuition fee cost.
    I'm just finishing the 2nd half of the first year if that makes any sense, it's 6 years to do a p/t degree rather than the 3 to do it f/t.  I did a counselling degree full time and really enjoyed it, but decided becoming a counsellor wasn't for me (plus my health deteriorated), but I particularly enjoyed the psychology side of it so when I realised I could get tuition fee loans for a 2nd degree and psychology was included, I was pleasantly surprised and thought I'd give it a go.  It's a bit of a challenge at times when my pain and fatigue is particularly bad, but I'm still managing and am really enjoying it.
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