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Care Experienced Scholarship

The Open University Care Experienced Scholarship is launching for the first time in 2023/24, offering four full undergraduate scholarships to care experienced young people aged 25 and under.

Our latest scholarship has been designed in collaboration with The John Lewis Partnership as part of the Building Happier Futures initiative to offer young people with experience of being in care an opportunity to study an undergraduate qualification for free.

Being care experienced

We know that young people with experience of care are significantly less likely to continue into higher education than their peers. Being in care can impact your school progress and the opportunity to attend university at the usual time.

At the OU, we’re here to help put higher education back within your grasp with our open-access courses and flexible study arrangements. OU study means you do not have to move away and can study from the comfort of your own home.

What is the Care Experienced Scholarship?

The Open University’s Care Experienced Scholarship, in conjunction with The John Lewis Partnership, is launching for the first time in the 2023/2024 academic year, offering four undergraduate scholarships.

A scholarship covers OU undergraduate credit-bearing qualifications, paying for the full tuition cost of your qualification, up to 120 credits each seasonal academic year and 360 credits in total.

To be eligible, you’ll need to meet all the following criteria:

  • be 25 years of age or under on 1 September 2023
  • be starting OU study for the first time in the 2023/24 academic year
  • be ordinarily resident in the UK and eligible for a UK fee
  • hold no existing higher education qualification(s)
  • be able to demonstrate proof of your experience of being in care
  • have a gross personal income of not more than £25,000 per year or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit
  • be studying a module as part of an undergraduate qualification in the academic year 2023/24 (1 September 2023 to 31 August 2024)
  • be studying a minimum of 30 credits a year.

The full eligibility criteria are available in the terms and conditions.

What supporting evidence do I need?

You will need to provide evidence of your care experience. This could be a letter from your Local Authority confirming your care leaver status, or a letter from a GP, social worker, care experienced support service or other professional person from the local authority in which you were looked after. You’ll also need to provide evidence of your personal income or qualifying benefit.

How to apply

Applications for the 2023/24 academic year are now closed.

If you’re successful, we’ll email you by 11 August 2023 to confirm. We’ll also contact you to ensure you’re ready to study and help you choose your course.

Need more information?

Our advisers are on hand to answer any questions you might have about the Care Experienced Scholarship. Don’t hesitate to call us on 0300 303 5303.