Clearing is already open. Technically UCAS Clearing is open up until a course enrolled (usually last week in September) although if a course still has spaces they will probably take late applications after the course starts as they will want to fill the spaces.
As far a debt etc goes, all higher education courses will be over £3000 per year, which will be covered by the student loans company (unless you want to self fund) some courses/colleges may offer bursaries in a cash back option to students on a low income as long as they are taking the student loan for fees.
Go to the UCAS website to search for courses with available spaces, this will be a limited list for this September.
Once you find a course you think you are interested in email the course leader and ask specific questions so that you can find out if it is exactly what you are looking for as the write up on the website doesn't usually give the full picture.
UCAS Applications cost £15 for multiple applications or £5 for one application.
The fees for OU are £4000 for the course (on average but vary with different courses)
You don't deal with the student loans company with the OU instead you can pay up front, pay in monthly instalments, or apply for a grant (if you are on a low income) which could either cover all your fees or part of the fees
Katy, ignore my post on the EYPS thread about the FD then! Do bear in mind though that if you go into a childcare related degree, you could get help from the Transformation Fund. My FD was completely paid for by the TF and I am hoping to get some funding towards my top up year next year.
It was one evening a week, 4:30-9:30 (although it didn't always go on that late) and one Saturday a month. It was classed as FT hours by the uni, even though it was run PT iyswim.
The idea of it is that it goes hand in hand with your work, you do a lot of the FD in practice.
My experience was a very positive one, as I had literally just finished my Level 3. DD was 2 and I was working FT, plus doing the usual housework stuff. I got through the first year and found out I was pg with DS at the start of the second, was still working FT, DD and housey stuff. I had DS just before the end of the second year so got an extension on my dissertation and last assignment and graduated 2 weeks ago.
I did consider OU but my local authority wouldn't pay for distance learning. I went to college and actually found I looked forward to meeting up with my mates away from the DC and housey stuff etc. College was better for me, kept me focused. I know if I had taken the OU route, I would have been lazy and just not done the work.
It has been hard, but then again, any degree is. You can do the FD PT over 3 years but 2 was long enough and manageable in the way it was run.
Most courses (including FD's) although state they are full time only run over 15 hours of lecture time in a week (or less) The course I run is over 2 and a half days and the rest of the time is for self directed study time. I have a student who is full time but is still running a small business whist doing the course. She just has to be very careful with organising her time.