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OU launches support package to help Ukraine

Ukrainian flag against blue sky

The Open University has launched a raft of measures aimed at helping students and Ukrainians fleeing the war and arriving in the UK. 

These include financial support and assistance for existing OU students, a funding lifeline to potential students from Ukraine now living in the UK, as well as free online learning and partnerships with wider support networks.

A key part of the OU’s support package is extensive online free resources for Ukrainians on its popular platform OpenLearn, with a further free-to-learn cultural and language course being created aimed at those housing, caring for or working with Ukrainians.

The OU support package includes:

  • Fee waivers for existing students from Ukraine
  • Free OpenLearn resources dedicated to supporting Ukrainians now living in the UK, including free language training and mental and wellbeing support
  • The launch, later this Summer, of a free online culture and language course to help UK families hosting Ukrainians and those working with or caring for them, developed by leading academics
  • An opportunity to apply for one of 12 Sanctuary Scholarships amounting to £240,000, complete with study starter pack and access to careers and employability services
  • Working with partners to provide further assistance through targeted projects in the HE sector
  • Open University job roles posted on the dedicated sites for refugees JobsForUkraine.net and Talent Beyond Boundaries
  • A commitment to continued working with local and national partners.

Susan Stewart, Director of the OU in Scotland said:

“We are appalled by the situation in Ukraine and the huge impact it is having on so many lives. This package provides free online learning, scholarships and financial assistance for Ukrainians as they seek refuge in the UK, as well as educational resources for host families across our four nations.

“The Open University was founded to make education accessible to everyone and we believe that is a powerful way to improve people’s lives. We will continue to build our resources across the University to support both Ukrainian refugees and host families in the best way we can.”

Since the war in Ukraine began the OU has reached out to all its current Ukrainian students and staff, including those in Ukraine itself. Current fees have been waived for 15 students based either in Ukraine or who have had to flee their war-torn country.

Ukrainian refugees living in the UK have also been given an opportunity to apply for funding to study over the next three years, with an assistance package, called The Open Futures Sanctuary Scholarships programme. Worth over £800,000, this programme offers 12 scholarships each year over the next three years to those, including people from Ukraine, who are seeking asylum and/or are refugees in the UK helping them to rebuild their lives by gaining study and skills to find work. A further 50 fee waivers are offered on an OU Access Module to help with skills and study progression.

The OU’s free OpenLearn resources dedicated to supporting Ukrainian refugees are already live and gaining visitors, with courses from English language to articles on mental health and wellbeing. A further £50,000 from alumni donations will pave the way for a brand-new short course on OpenLearn focusing on Ukrainian culture and language, specifically for UK residents hosting refugees in the home and service providers working with people who have arrived from Ukraine. 

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