Open University triples young student numbers

The Open University is attracting three times the number of young students than it did seven years ago, it has been revealed today.

The opportunity for “earning while learning” was a key contributing factor to the increasing numbers of younger students enrolling in the Open University, their research said.

The university said that one-in-10 students registered on Open University undergraduate courses in 2002/03 were aged 24 years or under. In 1996/1997, there were 5,894 students aged 24 or under studying undergraduate courses at the Open University, while in 2002/03 that number reached 16,000, accounting for 10.6% of the student population – double the proportion of young students in 1996/97.

Professor Allan Cochrane, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students), said that the cost of going to other universities was "discouraging people" and as a consequence they were turning to the OU.

“An increasing number of people do not want to commit to three years of study before joining the workforce. The Open University allows them to both study and begin their career on completing school or college. They can earn while they learn," he said.

“Some younger students have attended other universities, but have not found them compatible with their study needs, or their lifestyle. Studying at the Open University allows them to study at their own pace, in their own surroundings.”

Of those students aged 24 or under, a third are aged 21 or under, accounting for close to 4% of Open University undergraduate students, nearly four times the figure recorded seven years ago.

The university has been able to attract the type of student that the government wants to bring into higher education, Professor Cochrane added.

The Open University is Britain’s largest university, with more than 220,000 students and consumers registered last year. A total of 20% of all part-time higher education students in the UK study with the Open University.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

30 January 2014
14 Arrested At Student Protest
Fourteen people have been arrested at a student protest at the University of Birmingham. Police were called after violence broke out during the demonstration. The University said that staff were injured when smoke bombs and fireworks were thrown and doors were smashed open.
02 November 2011
Student Loan Company Recruits 'Lab Subjects'
Students from across the country are being recruited to take part in a unique experiment, which could shape how student finance products and services are run in the future. The Student Loans Company (SLC) has launched a nationwide search for 5,000 customers to take part in its online Student Finance Lab.
21 April 2005
Liberal Democrats to tackle student debt
The Liberal Democrats have promised to remove the fear of debt from university students by scrapping tuition and top-up fees and increase grants for poorer students. The party announced that a Liberal Democrat government would provide grants of up to £2,000 per year to poorer students.
19 March 2014
Hull University Concerned About Student In Malasya Plane
The University of Hull has said it is deeply concerned about reports one of its postgraduate students could have been a passenger on the missing Malasya Airlines flight. The 26-year-old passenger Yue Wenchao was one of the 153 Chinese nationals on board the flight carrying 239 passengers and crew that went missing without a trace on 8 March.
14 August 2003
Tories claims student debt will 'triple' under Labour
The Tory Party has said today that student debt looks set to triple between now and 2010, with those leaving university in seven years time likely to be £33,708 in the red.