Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Student Loans, OUSBA and paying for the course

I'm sure that some would find it very helpful to know about funding for this course. I have put some links in the left hand side bar to guide you, but thought I would try to summarise things here as it can seem a bit complicated. I know it was a bit of a headache for me to sort it out, though it is only fair to say that both Student Loans UK and the OU were incredibly patient and helpful.

As befits a course of this magnitude, it is very expensive. The first year (worth 60 points) is £1920 and I should think the second year (120 points) will be roughly double that. Few of us have that sort of money hanging around, but there is help out there, if you qualify.

Student Loan
If you are under 60 years old, and British, you can try for a postgraduate student loan of up to £10,000, which will cover the course fees and any other costs, such as books, laptops, travel etc. This only has to be paid back if you earn over £21k per year. You can claim up to £5000 the first year, and the rest is paid in the second year.

However, there is one drawback in that the monies are not paid into your bank until after the course begins, but there is help with that.

OUSBA  Account
An OU Student Budget Account is a low interest loan that can be claimed from the Open University. They will pay for the module, then you can start to pay them back monthly after the course begins. For this course it works out at roughly £244 per month. However, if you get your student loan in place, you can pay it off immediately without accruing too much interest. If you do take this option, and don't pay it off, the interest charged over the period is only £36 on top of the £1920 course, which I believe is quite reasonable. And if you pay it off immediately, it will be less than that (if anything at all).

If you do intend to pay this off with your student loan, it is important to email the OUSBA when you make your application to let them know as it could mean the difference between you getting accepted or not.

You might also be able to apply for a bursary to help with costs. The OU has two: The Crowther Fund and The Robert Beevers Memorial Fund. The funds are dependent upon financial circumstances, and as the applications close in February each year, it's too late to apply for this year, but perhaps it's something to keep in mind for future years.

Other avenues of funding

This Open University page lists other options for funding, including help for disabled students. Because I have arthritis in my hands, all my course books (when I took my degree) were comb bound to make it easier for me to use. It's a simple thing, but incredibly helpful.


Sue Blackburn said...

For anybody intending to take a course of this sort this is so helpful. Honestly, shows how naive I am. I actually thought the Open University was free.Duh! Have I got it totally wrong or did it used to be, or are some courses still I wonder? xx

Quillers said...

It used to be free for those on low incomes, Sue, but they've taken away that option now. Though if you can get a student loan, it's virtually free (at least until you earn over £21k a year).