Open University

It could be about to become even harder to go to university. For decades, the Open University has been the place where people who’ve missed out on a traditional university education can get a degree. But it is at risk of collapse. [1]

It’s struggling to cope because the government has slashed help for part-time students. Fewer people can now afford to study while holding down a job. [2] So the Open University is planning to cut a third of its courses. [3]

The government is under pressure from MPs and the media to step in and help. [4] But they’ll only do something if they know that thousands of voters – that’s us – are standing up for the Open University.

Can you help decide: should 38 Degrees run a campaign to save the Open University?

YES

NO

Not everyone needs a degree to get on in life. But for thousands of people, the Open University has opened doors.

Jake Spence left school at 16 with no qualifications, after years of struggling in lessons and being told he was stupid. After he left the army, an Open University degree helped him become a top medic. [5] Claire Gray, a single parent who works as a checkout assistant, is studying to be a lawyer at the Open University. “Getting a degree is something I’ve wanted for a long time. This is me taking control of my future”, she says. [6]

But huge cuts to government support for part-time students have made it almost impossible to study and hold down a job. Tuition fee hikes have forced up the average cost of a degree at the Open University to a whopping £18,000. Even worse, most part-time students are blocked from getting loans to help pay the fees. [7]

Britain should be a country where all of us have opportunities to change our lives through education. We should be rewarded for our talent and hard work, no matter our background or income.

If enough 38 Degrees-ers decide to back this campaign, we can make sure nobody’s denied an education that could change their life – no matter how old they are, where they live, or how much money they’ve got.

 

NOTES:
[1] The Guardian: Open University plans major cuts to number of staff and courses:
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/mar/21/open-university-plans-major-cuts-to-number-of-staff-and-courses
[2] The Spectator: Why we must save the Open University:
https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/04/why-we-must-save-the-open-university/
[3] See note 1
[4] The Daily Mail: PM fuels hopes of an intervention to save the Open University amid a dramatic decline in student numbers after cuts led to increased tuition fees:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5596671/PM-fuels-hopes-intervention-save-Open-University.html
The Times: We need the Open University more than ever:
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/we-need-the-open-university-more-than-ever-m5nd9n0nd
[5] The Daily Mail: PM fuels hopes of an intervention to save the Open University amid a dramatic decline in student numbers after cuts led to increased tuition fees:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5596671/PM-fuels-hopes-intervention-save-Open-University.html
[6] The Guardian: Part-time student numbers collapse by 56% in five years:
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/may/02/part-time-student-numbers-collapse-universities
[7] See note 2