Supporting students in Wales

We believe education should be open to all. That’s why at The Open University in Wales, we offer a range of support to ensure you reach your full potential. If you have the drive to learn, we will help you get there.

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Why The Open University?

We are the experts in supported distance learning. The Open University has been innovating for over 50 years to help more than two million students realise their ambition. 

Our students come from every part of Wales and lead busy lives, balancing their studies with their everyday circumstances and responsibilities. Open University study is flexible, fitting around your life, with support at every step of the way. That’s why more disabled students choose to study with The Open University than any other UK university. Last year alone, the OU supported over 28,000 students with disabilities and additional needs.

What support is available? 

Distance learning doesn’t mean you’ll be on your own. As an OU student, you'll be supported by:

  • Your tutor - You’ll be assigned a tutor for each module you study. They're an expert in their subject and will provide you with support, feedback and guidance throughout your studies. 
  • Our Student Recruitment and Support Team - Our team in Wales is here to offer information, advice and guidance on a range of topics, including course choice and funding options. They're also here to discuss any study adjustments you may require and to help with any outside pressures that may be affecting your studies.
  • Your fellow students via our student forums - Each module has an online forum where you can chat with fellow OU students. It’s a place to discuss the course content, ask questions and is often a great space for mutual support.

You're never on your own at the OU.

What if I need some adjustments to help my studies?

If you have any challenges that affect the way you study, the way we need to communicate with you or the way you access study materials, then we want to know about them. We can provide a range of adjustments so that you can make the most of your studies with us. For example:

  • We can give you access to recorded versions of tutorials for you to watch back.
  • Your tutor can contact you by a specific method, for example by email rather than by phone.
  • Your tutor can give you proactive reminders of your module assessment deadlines.
  • Most modules have transcripts of any audio-visual materials as standard. 
  • If your course has a face-to-face tutorial, your tutor can ensure the session is inclusive to your needs. These can include avoiding exercises that involve writing on white boards, reading aloud or activities that require moving around a room.
In all these examples, as with most of the support we offer, you don't need to provide any medical evidence or have an official diagnosis. Once you’ve registered as a student, you just need to get in touch with our friendly Student Support Team in Wales and we’ll take it from there. 

Even if you don’t know which support could be helpful to you, please get in touch with us and we can make some suggestions.

Because of The Open University's flexibility, it means I can attend my hospital or doctor visits. I can fit in some extra study on the good days. The tutors are always there to help clear things up for me. It’s given me a lot more confidence and in general it's just been a really good experience.

Gemma, Open Degree

What if I need specialist support?

There are further levels of support available, including specific exam requirements or study materials in alternative formats such as large print or screen-reader friendly materials. These do require medical evidence, but the first step is to get in touch with us.

Is financial support available?

There are different types of financial support available to help you during your studies. 

  • The Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) can help pay for extra equipment and support that you may need as a direct result of your disability, on-going health condition, sensory impairment, mental-health condition or specific learning difficulty. You apply for DSA through Student Finance Wales (SFW). However, if you have any questions we can guide you through the DSA application process.
  • There are a range of bursaries available which can offer financial support, including the Disabled Veteran's Scholarship Fund, Care Experienced Bursary, Carer's Bursary and more. Find out more on our Fees and Funding page.
  • Open University in Wales students who are studying towards an eligible qualification can also get financial support to help with living costs. You could get up to £4,500 as a grant, which you don't have to pay back, dependent on your household income and study intensity. Maintenance loans are also available. Find out how much you could be eligible for on our Fees and Funding page.

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