From education to employment

The Open University offers funding opportunity for disabled veterans

A scholarship fund with the potential to change people’s lives is open for applications.

Now in its fifth year, The Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund (DVSF) is once again open for applications offering 50 free study places at The Open University (OU) to individuals injured or disabled in or due to military service.

So far, the OU has given 210 scholarships helping veterans from a variety of service backgrounds who have a range of complex health challenges due to their time in the military, including those that suffer with mental health conditions.

Building on the success of the scheme over the last four years, the OU and its partners are hoping for applications from as wide a field of disabled veterans as possible, with free study at either undergraduate or postgraduate level, and specialist support to help them forge new careers in the civilian world.

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. They will also receive specialist careers and disability support, if required.

Former Royal Marine Peter Dunning was playing wheelchair rugby at the Invictus Games 2018 when a fellow UK Team member told him about DVSF.

He successfully applied and began studying towards a BSc Sport, Fitness and Coaching degree – something which has always been his passion.

Now in his third year, Peter – who lost both his legs and sustained multiple other injuries on duty in Afghanistan – is on track to complete his degree in 2023. After graduation, he dreams of coaching fellow veterans and future Invictus Games participants.

Peter said:

“Studying with the OU has changed me because it has made me appreciate education. I’ve been out of work and education for a while, and this has got me back into it.”

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 has a long experience in 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.

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

“We are delighted to invite applications from disabled veterans to start studying with the OU in the autumn on scholarships through the Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships fund. It is thanks to the fantastic generosity of our alumni and donors that this scholarship scheme has been so successful.  By giving this gift of education, they have made it possible to change people’s lives.”

Peter added:

“To all the donors and everyone who helps with the DVSF scheme I have simply two words to say – thank you! I will always be happy to shout about the DVSF as it’s been of great benefit to me,” said Peter. “Having the opportunity to do the scholarship has been fantastic – I don’t think I’d have considered studying without a scholarship as I couldn’t have funded it.”

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