We believe that where you start in life shouldn’t limit where you go. The Open Futures Fund provides life-changing scholarships and support to students who would otherwise miss out on education.
Open Futures is truly at the heart of the OU’s mission to make education accessible to all and is only possible thanks to your continued generosity. Together, we are breaking down barriers to education, stopping potential from going to waste and ensuring everyone – regardless of background – has the opportunity to pursue their ambitions.
By supporting the Open Futures Fund, you are supporting a range of OU scholarships and assistance schemes, including:
Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund
Adjusting to civilian life with disability can seem like an impossible challenge for many disabled veterans. The Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund ensures that veterans injured or disabled in or due to military service are empowered to rewrite their own futures. Through the Fund, these brave servicemen and women receive the opportunity to study with the OU at undergraduate level for free, with specialist disability and career support, so they can reskill for the civilian jobs market and rebuild their lives.
The first Fund of its kind in the UK, this unique lifeline has already supported 312 veterans. We continue to fundraise to provide more scholarship places in 2024 so more military heroes have the opportunities they deserve.
Life can be extremely challenging for unpaid carers, who selflessly give so much of their time and themselves to look after their loved ones. Carers Scholarships offers carers the opportunity to study with the OU for free, so they can develop their sense of identity outside of caring and retrain towards seeking employment.
With at least three out of five of us in the UK likely to become a carer at some point, this unique scholarship fund is the first of its kind in the UK and designed to support carers – including young carers – who would otherwise simply miss out on higher education and the chance to invest in themselves. The flexibility of OU study means carers can achieve their qualifications whilst balancing their caring responsibilities
We have already provided 132 full scholarships and, with your ongoing support, we look to provide more scholarships in 2024.
Black Students' Support Fund
For over fifty years, the OU’s open access policy and pioneering distance learning model has helped to break down the barriers that prevent so many students from achieving their ambitions. Yet there is still much more progress to be made. Year on year, evidence demonstrates that for certain groups of students, especially Black students, the playing field is simply not fair. Inequalities still exist across higher education and unless action is taken now, the Degree Awarding Gap, which puts Black students at a stark disadvantage, will only widen.
We have extended our Open Futures Fund to include scholarships specifically to support Black students. This fund will provide free OU undergraduate study to UK residents who identify as Black.
The Fund provided 97 scholarships to students so far. Your support can help to ensure more Black students succeed and access vital life-changing education in autumn 2024.
People arriving into the UK seeking refuge from threats to their lives face many challenges, but they also have the opportunity to build a new life and a hopeful future for themselves and their families.
Building on the success of the Open Futures Fund, we launched our Sanctuary Scholarships in 2022 – offering financial support to students seeking sanctuary. We will provide 36 full fee-waiver scholarships over three years alongside a student support package designed to address the specific needs of people seeking sanctuary. The first 24 students started their studies and the final 12 will be awarded in Autumn 2024.
Uniquely, we don’t require evidence of prior learning or qualifications, and the ‘anytime, anywhere’ study ethos of the OU offers the flexibility required by the often transitional circumstances of forced migrants, people seeking asylum and refugees. In addition to our degree-level fee-waiver scholarships, we have committed to offer 50 Access Course module scholarships (every year for the next three years) as an accessible route to prepare for Higher Education.
Care Experienced Scholarships
The OU is committed to making a difference to young people from care and we have extended our Open Futures Fund to include scholarships specifically to support care experienced young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In collaboration with the John Lewis Partnership, the Care Experienced Scholarships will provide young people with experience of being in care the opportunity to study an undergraduate-level qualification - for free. The scholarships launched for the first time in 2023/24 and awarded four scholarships to care experienced young people, aged 25 and under.
The Open University has numerous support programs addressing a wide variety of limitations or disadvantages that prospective students might face. For example, we offer financial support for carers, care experienced learners, Black students and disabled veterans and refugees. We also offer the study-related costs fund, which is open to anyone on a low income. Information on all our scholarships and assistance schemes can be found here: http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/fees-and-funding