From education to employment


A series of student support scholarships, worth more than £2.6 million, and designed to open doors for people who might not otherwise be able to afford a degree, are available to apply for from today through The Open University (OU). 

The Open Futures Fund provides life-changing scholarships, bursaries, and support to disabled veterans, Black students, and carers, to realise their ambitions and start their study journey. The OU is offering 132 fully funded degree places for the next academic year 2022/23, especially for these groups.

The Open Futures Fund sits at the heart of the OU’s mission to make higher education accessible to all, championing equity and inclusion.

Since 2014 the OU has awarded over 300 scholarships and over 1,000 bursaries, totalling over £5million, thanks to the generosity of OU alumni, supporters, and friends.

These are aimed at removing barriers to study, particularly amongst disadvantaged groups and those under-represented within the OU’s student body.

Dr Liz Marr, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Students at The Open University said:

We hope these scholarships will encourage students to study with us, to rewrite their future and realise their ambitions. Our students tell us of the huge difference study has made to their lives in terms of self-belief and achievement.

“Central to the OU’s mission is being open to all and these scholarships are true to that mission, thanks to the generosity of our donors and alumni.”

Veteran John Owens was at the top of his military career when a stroke left him hospitalised and facing an uncertain future. With support of The Open University’s Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund, he’s now working towards a new career as a personal trainer.

John Owens said:

“This scholarship is allowing me and other veterans the chance to build a better future. I believe teachers and coaches are pivotal to our children’s futures. So, the more disabled veterans like me who can be helped to do similar things, the more it benefits our society as a whole.”

Receiving a scholarship changes lives, and none more so that for Charlotte who was awarded one of the first Carers Scholarships from The Open University back in 2020. Charlotte is the main carer in her family.

Charlotte said:

I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard that I had been successful, I have never won the lottery, but I can only compare what I felt with that! To be given such a fantastic opportunity was more than I could have hoped for.”

The scholarships include:

The Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund which offers veterans, disabled in or due to military service, access to free Open University education and specialist disability and careers support. We have already provided 210 scholarships and the OU is offering 50 further places in 2022/23 across all undergraduate and postgraduate modules and qualifications. Successful applicants will have their fees waived for a maximum of 120 credits per seasonal academic year, up to a maximum of 360 credits, which is equivalent to a full Honours degree.

The Open Futures Scholarship for Black Students offers the opportunity for 50 UK-based students, from disadvantaged backgrounds and who identify as Black to study to undergraduate level for free. A scholarship covers OU undergraduate credit-bearing modules and qualifications, paying for the full tuition cost of a qualification, up to 120 credits each seasonal academic year and 360 credits in total.

The Carers’ Scholarships Fund isfor carers who face disadvantages that may prevent them from pursuing the education that they need. In 2022/23 we are offering 20 scholarships to carers, including a minimum of 6 reserved for young carers aged under 25.  A scholarship covers OU undergraduate credit-bearing modules and qualifications, paying for the full tuition cost of your qualification, up to 120 credits each seasonal academic year and 360 credits in total. In recent years, the OU has provided the equivalent of 91 full scholarships to carers.

Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships – the OU has also awarded 15 scholarships, worth a total of £270,000, to fund Ugandan development practitioners to study for a Masters in Global Development. The scholarships are funded by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office, to enable talented students to access training not otherwise available in their home country, via distance learning. Scholars will join in November 2022 and study for three years.

For more information and full Terms & Conditions on the Open Futures Fund programmes visit the application pages:

Carers’ Scholarships Fund

The Open Futures Scholarship for Black Students

Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships:

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