How support for living costs is helping people in Wales take up part-time study


Learning is for life and should be accessible to everyone. That’s the mission The Open University has had at its core for over 50 years. From our inception, we’ve continuously explored new ways to bring the best quality university education direct to people’s homes wherever they live – whether that was via the late night BBC TV broadcasts, posting books, floppy disks and DVDs in the post, or producing the latest online content, webinars and interactive tutorials.


As the UK’s leading distance learning university, we’re very aware that many of us have multiple commitments to balance; whether it’s being parents, or carers or having to hold down a job at the same time as wanting to study. We feel this shouldn’t be an unscalable barrier to achieving your ambition. Learning with us is flexible, meaning our students can study at their own pace, alongside everything else they have in their life, supported every step of the way by their tutor and our dedicated Wales-based support team.


More recently many of our students have benefitted from additional financial support from the Welsh Government. New part-time undergraduate students can get a grant of up to £4,500 per year to help with the costs of everyday living whilst studying. The amount you can get is based on household income and the number of credits you study each year. As well as the grant, which doesn’t need to be paid back, you can also get a top up maintenance loan.


One student to benefit from the new funding is Marianne Shelley from south Wales, a single parent who works full time. Marianne began studying for a BSc in Natural Sciences in in 2018.


“My Son was 16 and doing A levels in the sciences.” she says. “It was just through talking to him and taking an interest in what he’s doing, that I thought ‘I’d like to do that.’ I think it’s quite interesting how your children can inspire you to do more.

“The first thing I would say to people is don’t think that you can’t do it. The Open University will show you ways that you can. The maintenance grant as a single parent outweighs the course fees, and the flexible teaching really suits me.”

We offer over 200 highly respected qualifications in a wide range of subjects which you can study at a pace that suits you. Whether you want to study for a certificate in Business Management, or a degree in Law or train to become a teacher with our PGCE, there’ll be something to inspire or challenge everybody. If you’ve never considered getting back into education before, there’s even a range of Access courses which provide a taster of university study and can help refresh your learning skills and build your confidence.

Click here to find out more about the funding for part-time students in Wales and to see all of the courses and opportunities waiting for you at The Open University.