The OU in Wales has welcomed a Welsh Government announcement of a 35% increase in the number of part-time undergraduate students in Wales.
The OU in Wales itself has seen a 49% increase in student numbers in the October 2018 recruitment cycle, which equates to 748 additional students.
Since September 2018, a maintenance grant of up to £4,500 has been made available to eligible part-time students studying at home. This makes Wales the only country in Europe to offer part-time students the equivalent support to their full-time counterparts.
The OU in Wales is so pleased to see the impact that the new funding system is having on part-time study in Wales. With maintenance grants now available for part-time distance learners, flexible study has never been more affordable. This is helping The OU in Wales make studying for a degree a reality for those who may not have considered it in the past.
This in turn allows more people in Wales to upskill, reskill and change their lives through learning. Part-time education makes a significant contribution to the economy and is more important than ever for meeting Wales’ future skills needs.Louise Casella, Director of The Open University in Wales
The OU’s student number increase has been seen across all subject areas and indicates that the new funding is having a particular impact on students who face barriers in accessing higher education. The OU has seen a significant (56%) increase in students from areas where participation in HE is traditionally lower.
There has also been a 57% increase in disabled students registering for study with the OU in Wales, and a 30% increase in Black and Minority Ethnic students.
Julie Lydon, Chair of Universities Wales, said:
“We are delighted to see this increase in the number of students choosing to study part-time in Wales, clearly demonstrating that the new student support and higher education funding package in Wales is working.
“In the coming decade, Wales will face many challenges from the changing workplace and advancements in technology. These changes will mean that Wales will need a more highly skilled workforce. Flexible learning, such as part-time study, will play a key role in preparing the people, places and businesses of Wales for the future.”
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The Open University in Wales and Dark Sky Wales welcomed guests to the Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor Centre last Friday for a free event based on recent BBC/OU co-production The Planets.
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