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Supporting students with disabilities

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone, which is why more disabled students choose the OU than any other UK University.

Last year we supported around 18,000 such students to achieve their study goals.

Happy disabled lady using a computer

Accessibility is at the forefront of the OU's mission to be 'open to all'

You may not think of yourself as disabled, but if you have:

  • a long-term health condition,
  • a specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia), or
  • a mental health difficulty,

then, along with other disabilities, the OU considers you are entitled to reasonable adjustment to support your study. We use the terms ‘disabled’ or ‘disability’ to cover all these conditions.

I never believed I could achieve a qualification let alone a degree. I worked at my own pace and the support I was given throughout gave me the ability to succeed. I cannot thank the OU enough for making me achieve, what was in my eyes, unachievable.

Faye Coles, BSc (Hons) Social Sciences

Helping you get the best from your studies

Whether you’re studying for a qualification or a standalone module, make sure you read the description carefully and ask any additional questions you may have about what’s involved. This will ensure that you get the right level of support to make the best of your studies.

Some qualifications may be more accessible than others, depending on your specific needs, but we offer a comprehensive range of services to support you:

Accessible study materials

We provide a variety of formats to make printed texts, audio/visual content, interactive activities, or other online resources accessible.

Specialist equipment

If you are not eligible for funding, our lending scheme can provide you with specialist equipment or software, enabling you to study at home, in tutorials, at day schools or residential schools.

Access to tutorials and day schools

We can help you with access and taking part in talking, listening, note-taking and group activities; or provide alternative arrangements if you are unable to participate.

Tailored assessment

If you're not able to sit an examination under standard conditions or you have difficulties with an assessment, we will make reasonable adjustments to suit your needs.  

Residential schools support

A few courses have residential schools, which can be the highlight of OU study. We're committed to helping you attend and may be able to provide the support and facilities you need.

Financial help

If you're in the UK, you may be able to get Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) funding to help with study costs. You don't have to be registered disabled, and it's not age or income related.

Next steps

Find out more about how the OU supports disabled students at our Disability support website.

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