Guest Blog: Open University Bursaries


At The Open University (OU), we’ve always believed that higher education should be available to everyone – regardless of their age, background, or circumstances. That’s one of the many reasons we’re proud to offer a bursary to support OU students who are unpaid carers to a family member or friend and a bursary for OU students who have been in care.

Who are we?

As our name suggests, we’re a university. We’ve been offering higher education by distance learning since 1969. We believe that where you’ve come from shouldn’t limit where you want to go and that’s why most of our undergraduate qualifications don’t have entry requirements. We love the experience, diversity and insight our students bring, as they come from all walks of life.

We’re experts in flexible, supported distance learning, so it means our students get the very best from our tailor-made module materials, websites, online library, and our expert tutors. We also support more disabled students than any other UK university.

What can you study with us?

We offer honours degrees, diplomas of higher education, and certificates of higher education – the same qualifications you could study at any UK university. In subjects ranging from art history, computing and IT, science, social work and more, if there’s something you’re interested in, we probably offer it.

You can also study modules by themselves (if you didn’t want to study a qualification) or our short courses, which include digital photography, Italian, project management and genetics.

Supporting OU students

Of course, supporting our students to achieve their goals is key to our mission. So, we offer a range of additional support – this could be academic support, pastoral care, alternative study materials, and funding support.

Alongside our existing financial support, we’ve introduced two new bursaries, specifically for students who are carers, or who have been in care.

Carers’ Bursary

This is designed specifically for OU students providing unpaid care to a friend or family member. It’s available to any student currently studying, or who will be studying in the next academic year. Eligible students will receive a £250 bursary towards study-related costs.

Students could be caring for someone with an illness, disability, mental health condition or addiction that means they can’t cope without the student’s care. 

Study-related costs could include paying for internet bills or buying computer equipment, such as a laptop. 

Care Experienced Bursary

The Care Experienced Bursary is also for current OU students, or those who’ll study with us in the next academic year. It also awards £250 to eligible students to help with study-related costs.

Eligible students include anyone who is in, or who has previously been in the care of a local authority. This also includes adopted children, who were previously in care. Care settings could include residential care, foster care, kinship care, or living at home under the supervision of a Social Worker.

Get in touch

If you’ve got questions, we’d love to help you out.

You can find more information about studying with the OU on The Open University website.

If you can’t find the answer there, get in touch with us by phone, email or webchat, using our Contact the OU page.

Turn2us Grants Search

The OU bursaries are listed on the Turn2us Grants Search along with many other charitable fund schemes that may help students, depending on their background, circumstances and needs.

* Emma Johnson is a Content Executive in the Marketing Department at the Open University.