Students Turning to OU Courses as Higher Education Costs Soar

Article excerpt

Byline: Shahid Naqvi

More people are signing up to do correspondence degree courses because they are being priced out of going to university by the soaring cost of higher education, a new study has revealed.

This year has seen nearly a quarter increase in the number of 18 to 24year-olds doing Open University modules.

The OU said one of the main factors in the rise was the growing cost of attending university - something that is likely to get worse next year if, as expected, top-up fees are introduced.

The trend is also fuelled by the increasing respect OU courses command from employers. They believe participants typically mixing full-time work with study have demonstrated greater committment and determination than people on full-time university courses.

'One factor to the rising numbers is the fees going up across the sector,' said the OU's vice-chancellor, Professor Allan Cochrane.

'Everybody knows that wherever they go, they may have to pay more fees. For many young people, they know they are going to have to work anyway to get extra money to make ends meet.

'Studying with the Open University is one way they can do that with a full-time job and maintain their economic status.'

Figures show the number of 18-24year-olds on OU programmes has shot up from 11,854 to 14,459 this year - a 22 per cent increase. …