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Support for students

At The Open University we support our students in Northern Ireland in a number of ways. From financial help with the rising cost of living, to mental health assistance and career guidance, we are here to help. 

If you'd prefer to talk through your options: Log in to StudentHome for your personalised contact details.


Financial Support


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Study-Related Costs Funding

If you're on a low income, or are in receipt of certain benefits, you could be eligible for additional support with your study-related costs.

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Student Assistance Fund

To support students that are facing unexpected financial hardship, which has impacted the ability to study.

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Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)

Need help to pay for extra equipment and support that you may need as a direct result of your disability, on-going health condition, sensory impairment, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty?

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Carers' Bursary

If you provide unpaid care to a friend or family member, you could be eligible for £250 to help with your study-related costs.

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Care Experienced Bursary

If you've previously been in, or are currently in care, you could be awarded with £250 to help with study-related costs.

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If you'll be studying on a low income or face unexpected financial difficulties, you may be eligible to apply for help with study related costs, including computer costs.

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If you live in Northern Ireland you may be eligible for Rate Relief if you're a part-time student or in other specified circumstances.

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Cost of Living Payments

A cost of living package has been put in place by the NI Executive for 2022 that includes one-off payments to those on income related benefits, disabled claimants and pensioners.

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Citizen's Advice

If you're managing your finances on a reduced income, seek advice from your local Citizens Advice.

Budgeting and saving tips

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We all need to manage our money, but with rising costs of living, this can often feel very challenging. There are apps and websites that can help you review your budget and make your money go further.

We’ve listed some options here:

If the rising costs are causing you to fall into debt, free advice is available from StepChange and National Debtline.

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Mental health and wellbeing

Money worries can have a significant impact on our mental health and overall wellbeing. Feeling low can make it harder to manage your finances.

If you’re finding things difficult, you can always contact your student support team. In addition, the OU Student Association offers Peer support if you're struggling with motivation. We have a partnership with Shout who offer free, confidential 24/7 support if you’re feeling low or stressed. You can also access our full range of mental health and wellbeing support.

Mind offers some practical tips on managing your money and improving your mental health. If you're experiencing issues with mental health and money, see Mental Health and Money Advice for support.

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Job search support

If the impact of increased cost of living means you're looking for a new job or promotion, we have a range of vacancy sources for you to explore. There is also advice and practical tools for developing your CVcompleting application forms, and preparing for interviews.

During these challenging times, your work or personal circumstances may change quickly. We have lots of advice on assessing your options and practical support available for dealing with redundancy.

Feel like you need to take a study break

If you feel like you need to take a break from your studies due to financial pressures, please talk to your Student Support Team first. They'll be able to offer advice on the best options for you and your circumstances. For more information see Take a study break and Defer from modules.