Up until last week, the “improvements” to student funding had only affected Open University students in England but the changes arrive in Wales with courses starting from September 2014.
Although the “improvements” had resulted in parity with the full-time students in terms of being able to get student loans, what nobody pushing for this parity seems to have realised that few of the part-time students would be eligible for the funding as it was quite frequently their second qualification and moreover the cost of the courses would rocket when this change was introduced. Thus in England modules went from a typical £700 to £2500 and the concept of transitional arrangements came in to ensure that those who’d already started qualifications would be able to continue them on the same financial basis. Thus the jump in costs only applied to new students or those starting new qualifications.
Sadly, the new arrangements are now being applied in Wales so we can look forward to a substantial drop in Welsh OU students similar to the massive drop that’s already been seen in England.
Will Northern Ireland and Scotland follow the trend? Somehow, I can’t see the Scottish politicians doing likewise this year with the vote coming up but who knows about next year or for Northern Ireland?
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