Financial support for a single mum studying with Open Uni

(16 Posts)
Louxlouxx Sun 09-Aug-20 11:40:00

Hi!

I’m just looking to see if anybody had any information regarding how to get financial support if I wanted to Saturday with the open university?

I have two children, a daughter who is 4 and a son who is 2.

I currently work part time but would give it up to study or if I’m better off, stay in work and study part time. Ideally I wanted to study full time but would I get financial help(if so, what?) and if I study part time, do I carry on doing what I’m doing?(universal credit helps towards childcare costs and to top up my pay, housing benefit etc).

Any advice would be so gratefully welcome!! I can’t be stuck unqualified working dead end jobs 😭😭 I need and want to set an example for my children! I’m looking to study psychology.

Xxx

OP’s posts: |
WhatALearningCurve Sun 09-Aug-20 11:47:22

Hi, I'm currently studying through Open University. I work part time and technically am doing a degree full time (ie completing it in 3 years) and I've got a 1 year old. Student Finance consider any degree through OU as a part time degree so you're not entitled to student finance - just the tuition fees. Also if you're not working UC don't contribute to childcare fees

ClashCityRocker Sun 09-Aug-20 11:50:18

Are you in England? If so, and assuming no disabilities that prevent you from attending a brick uni then I'm afraid it's tuition fees only.

I think there's a £250 grant available towards a laptop if household income is under a certain level.

Louxlouxx Sun 09-Aug-20 11:59:15

WhatALearningCurve

Hi, I'm currently studying through Open University. I work part time and technically am doing a degree full time (ie completing it in 3 years) and I've got a 1 year old. Student Finance consider any degree through OU as a part time degree so you're not entitled to student finance - just the tuition fees. Also if you're not working UC don't contribute to childcare fees

Ooo thank you!! Did you Sign up to do it part time or full time? As I understand, you can “get ahead” if you wish to on a part time course?
So do you have to do anything, eg notify UC that I’m studying? Do they help you in the same way on a full time course than they would a part time course? Or do they take money off if you’re studying either part time or full time? Thank you smile xxx

OP’s posts: |
Louxlouxx Sun 09-Aug-20 12:00:57

Yes I’m in England! That’s so good to know! I’ve just had to take out credit for a laptop but would be nice to not have to use that when I can’t really afford it xxx

OP’s posts: |
wonderpants Sun 09-Aug-20 12:08:51

Have you looked at what you would get as a maintenance loan from student finance if you studied full time at university?
As a single parent, you can work on top of it and claim tax credits! You might find you are better off than working and doing OU.

titchy Sun 09-Aug-20 14:31:51

I suspect you'd be far better off attending your local uni full time. Part time students aren't entitled to any maintenance, whereas full time ones can get up to £9k a year. Plus as a parent you'll get UC and won't be expected to work.

You can't study full time or get maintenance with the OU.

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Louxlouxx Sun 09-Aug-20 15:56:55

I can’t go to a brick uni as I had a bad childhood which led to a very low school attendance... Long story short, I have next no GCSEs so no A levels.
All I basically want to know is can I still get universal credit alongside working and studying part time or can I still get it studying full time. I know you can’t get student finance and a lady above said that she’s still getting UC on top of part time work and full time studying as she has a young child.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Sun 09-Aug-20 16:16:03

Of course you can go to a brick uni. You'll need to do an Access course first (paid via advanced learner loan which is written off if you then go onto get a degree), but to be honest you're not going to succeed at OU unless you've done an Access or similar anyway.

As a mature student no brick uni will need you to have GCSEs and A levels.

Louxlouxx Sun 09-Aug-20 17:37:20

I tried last year, they wouldn’t let me do an access course without first having at least one gcse over a grade C(then to study another on the side of the access course). I signed up to do both Maths and English but the week before, bad circumstances arose and threw that to the back of things.

I was reading that the first unit of OU courses was to get you up to A level equivalent, what makes you think I won’t be successful? I need childcare and help with things like that which is another worry of attending actual uni. I have no extended family who can help with that... I would love to go but would have to wait another couple of years until my youngest is in school and I just want to get started, I keep waiting for a “better time” and tbh it’s useless, I just want a better life.

OP’s posts: |
PastaAndPizzaPlease Sun 09-Aug-20 18:49:19

I honestly would agree with other posters who’ve suggested you’ll be far better off financially doing a 3 year course with a proper uni.

You’d get a 9k+ maintenance loan, help towards childcare and probably a bursary aswell which would be anywhere from 500 quid to 3k+.

Getting your GCSE English and Maths would be a good idea regardless, so I’d look at that again. Lots of jobs will require those qualifications so it’s worth getting them. I had a great lad at a junior position in our team who had a degree but no GCSEs and consequently has really struggled to progress in his career.

I’ve also heard people with less educational experience can struggle with the OU (although it might not be the case for you of course) because of a lack of study skills and support. You’d get more of this in a face to face uni.

I know you say you spoke to a college who wouldn’t let you start the access course without one GCSE, are there any other colleges you could look at? The ones near me allow you to do an Access course alongside GCSEs in Maths and English.

What are you hoping to do after your psychology degree?

Louxlouxx Sun 09-Aug-20 21:29:00

PastaAndPizzaPlease

I honestly would agree with other posters who’ve suggested you’ll be far better off financially doing a 3 year course with a proper uni.

You’d get a 9k+ maintenance loan, help towards childcare and probably a bursary aswell which would be anywhere from 500 quid to 3k+.

Getting your GCSE English and Maths would be a good idea regardless, so I’d look at that again. Lots of jobs will require those qualifications so it’s worth getting them. I had a great lad at a junior position in our team who had a degree but no GCSEs and consequently has really struggled to progress in his career.

I’ve also heard people with less educational experience can struggle with the OU (although it might not be the case for you of course) because of a lack of study skills and support. You’d get more of this in a face to face uni.

I know you say you spoke to a college who wouldn’t let you start the access course without one GCSE, are there any other colleges you could look at? The ones near me allow you to do an Access course alongside GCSEs in Maths and English.

What are you hoping to do after your psychology degree?

Thank you so much for this!

I’ve taken your advice on board and have found this course which isnt the closest to me www.oaklands.ac.uk/course-area/course/20_21-ACCSSW1F_1-L3-Access-to-Social-Sciences-

I’m correct in thinking that they don’t actually require you to have the GCSEs? And will I get any help whilst there also?
Learn Direct also have a similar access course but require the A-C in maths and English and would have been good to do from home as my littlest would then get 30 hours free childcare next September so wouldn’t be a worry if I do well enough to go to actual uni I realise I’ve left it all insanely late!

I was looking to go into criminal psychology of some sort, maybe a probation officer or councelling within domestic violence etc.

OP’s posts: |
BubblyBluePebbles Sun 09-Aug-20 21:48:03

Just saying 'well done!' for taking the initial steps to improve your circumstances.
I'm unable to give you any current advice as I went to uni as a mature student 20+ hrs ago when my 1st DC was 3 and things have obviously changed since then.
You can do anything if you put your mind to it and you want it bad enough. Good luck ✨

Glendaruel Sun 09-Aug-20 22:09:10

When the time comes, it's worth emailing the uni and asking what there entry requirements are for mature students as they are often different to those coming straight from school. The student services will also be able to help point you in right direction for funding.

PastaAndPizzaPlease Mon 10-Aug-20 00:55:37

Some Access courses don’t require you to have GCSEs, some do. It’s a decision for the individual college. But the vast majority of universities will require you to have GCSEs or equivalent also which is why I think it’s important to do them if you can.

You could also look at functional skills which is an equivalent. Not accepted everywhere but very broadly accepted.

When you say help, what do you mean? Financial or study support?

PastaAndPizzaPlease Mon 10-Aug-20 00:56:42

Should have also included a big well done at how proactive you’re being. With this approach you’ll do well no matter which route you take.

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