Will it still be possible to pay in advance for OU modules next year?

I recently tweeted the OU’s “Four in Ten” campaign with a question asking about the current situation of England-based students who were studying with the OU who wanted to carry on paying for their modules in advance, as many of us do at present.

They answered this question in a blog post yesterday. Yet again the answer seems to demonstrate the lamentable way in which the 40% of us in part-time tertiary education are being misunderstood and/or ignored by Willetts and Cable.

This is the comment I submitted in return, after a contributor called Tina had vented before I had had a chance to!

Dear Four in Ten,

Thanks for the reply to my tweet. Sadly, it confirms what I thought the situation was. As Tina points out, it’s not an answer to the question that I asked, but it is an honest statement of what the current “thinking” from government is.

My real concern is that despite the campaigning activities of four in ten and the OU, the responsible ministers at BIS (David Willetts and Vince Cable) really don’t understand what motivates people to study part-time.

As Tina says, if it becomes no longer possible to study modules or qualifications in a “debt-free” way, then it will severely impact my desire to ever want to study anything with the OU ever again, which would be a real shame. I suspect many of us who are in full-time employment like myself and are studying for “fun” would vote with our feet – and find alternative ways of satisfying our quest for knowledge.

Some of the US distance learning colleges are starting to look very attractive to me in this regard …

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