There are estimated to be around 2.6 million veterans living in the UK. Having served in the Armed Forces and dedicated their lives to the safety of the nation, they are men and women who have trained explicitly for the demands of military life in our nation’s unfailing defence.
Up to one in five veterans are discharged due to disabilities. Once they leave military life, their transferable skills - developed in a unique environment that demands excellence, accomplishment and personal growth - can make a huge contribution both socially and economically. University study can empower veterans to unlock their potential for new purposes - such as meeting the UK’s urgent need for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates.
Our Solution – The UK’s First Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund
Our ambition is to harness the potential of the UK’s veterans by supporting the educational development of the 1 in 5 veterans discharged due to disabilities. Disability amongst veterans is unsurprisingly higher than amongst the non-veteran population. It is estimated that 24% of veterans will suffer an illness or disability that limits their physical activity, compared to just 13% of the non-veteran population. Unlike colleagues who make plans for retirement, their unexpected discharge from service life is also likely to mean that these individuals are less prepared for a new life outside of the military.
"I can honestly say that without my OU qualification, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I was what you might describe as a ‘typical’ soldier, but studying with the OU has changed me as a person. There’s a lot of respect out there for an OU degree, which helps career wise."
Michael Trott, Veteran & OU Alumnus
The Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund will ensure that, if disability means veterans can no longer serve, they are empowered to rewrite their own futures. The fund will provide veterans with the opportunity to study at undergraduate level for free, with specialist support for disabilities, allowing them to develop their skills, knowledge and experience, and ultimately, to dream new dreams.
The fund is the first of its kind in the UK dedicated to furthering the education of men and women who have become disabled in or due to their time in the forces. The opportunity to study with The OU will develop their skills, knowledge and experience.
The Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund will provide free education to all disabled veterans, injured in or due to service, along with a wraparound disability support and careers advisory service. Launched initially with a target of £2.6 million, the fund will be open to the most inexperienced of learners, seeking only to study an Access module, through to seasoned students, hoping to complete undergraduate degrees. The Fund will support the equivalent of 100 undergraduate full fee waiver scholarships, in addition to which students will be supported by innovative equipment and teaching tools, and experienced staff and tutors.
“I am delighted to support such a worthy scholarship scheme for those who have given so much. Disabled Veterans I am sure will recognise the significant opportunities from an OU degree, enabled by this scheme.”
Lieutenant General Richard Nugee, Chief of Defence People (CDP) at the Ministry of Defence
How your support can make a difference
By supporting the Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund you can give the gift of education to someone that has given so much to their country. Please make your gift today and to provide a disabled veteran with the opportunity to start the next chapter of their life.
The Open University is now accepting applications for the Disabled Veterans' Scholarships Fund. Click here for further details and to apply.