From education to employment

The Open University’s scholarship fund supporting injured or disabled veterans is open for applications

hands in

The Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund (DVSF) provides free education at The Open University (OU) for veterans injured or disabled during military service. There are 50 places available to start study in Autumn 2023.

Since it launched in 2018 the fund has awarded 262 scholarships to study at the OU and has helped veterans from a variety of different service backgrounds, and across the four home nations, who have physical or mental health challenges as a result of their time in the military.

Successful applicants will receive full fee waivers for 120 credits per year and up to 360 credits in total, which is equivalent to a full honour’s degree. It is deliberately flexible, and can be applied across both, undergraduate and post-graduate study, including access modules which are the OU’s short introductory courses. Students will also have access to an expert team of specialist advisors who can help with disability and careers support.

The OU and its partners are hoping to attract applications from a broad range of disabled veterans who can take full advantage of this fantastic opportunity to build their confidence, skills, knowledge, and experience to thrive in employment and their communities.   

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer said:

“Veterans leave service with real skills and values that can’t be gained elsewhere.  I am delighted to see the continuation of the Open University grant programme, that gives our disabled veterans new avenues to explore, and doors to go through, as they adapt and bring the skills they have to the forefront of new opportunities post service.”

Jhumar Johnson, Chief of Staff to the Vice-Chancellor at the OU, commented:

“It is thanks to our generous donors that we are able to invite applications for our Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund for the fifth year. The OU are experts at delivering education to students with disabilities and health challenges and we are delighted to be able to offer this potentially life-changing opportunity to veterans.”  

Stuart Lawson, a recipient of a Disabled Veterans scholarship, had served in the Army for 19 years when a terrible accident turned his world upside down. Three years after the accident, Stuart was medically discharged from the Army and had to leave behind the only world he knew. It was while undergoing gruelling rehabilitation that Stuart set himself a new goal to work towards – becoming a History teacher.

Stuart is now on his way to making his dream a reality. Link to full story Finding a new purpose after the Forces – OU News

Stuart said:

“The career I loved had been brought to a sudden halt. The military was my life.  I was distraught and felt my life was meaningless. I had never been academic, didn’t enjoy my schooling and so I thought I didn’t stand a chance of being accepted.”

“When the OU awarded me a scholarship, I just thought ‘Wow!’, I was so happy. It gave me a purpose. I really enjoy history, so my goal is to study towards becoming a history teacher. It’s a big goal, but I know I can do it.”

“I still suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from my horrific accident and suffer from anxiety,” said Stuart. “I also still react to loud noises. But the OU has been really supportive in all this.”

There are over 2 million armed forces veterans living in the UK. More than four in ten (44%) of veterans with a disability reported that they found the experience of finding the right job role as ‘difficult’.

The OU is the largest educator working with disabled students – many of whom would find it difficult to attend a traditional face-to-face university – and a deep understanding of how high-level skills training through distance learning can transform their lives.

Stuart added: “I want to send a huge thank you to the OU’s alumni and donors for giving me a chance to not just change my own life, but also to help educate and inspire my pupils of the future.

Related Articles