I am very lucky to be studying for a degree with the Open University, and paying for it under the old financial support system. And have until 2017 to complete. Studying for a degree has opened up new pathways and interests and it was thanks to a member on another forum that I found myself in this wonderful world. It has given me confidence, provided a more informed mind, and provided me with new friends.
Under new guidelines all new students without degrees have to apply for student loans, (which the government hasn't thought out well because this process is available to everyone, even those on benefits and will never ever pay them off because loans are only paid off once you start earning £21,000 a year). Sadly I have discovered this morning that if you hold a degree you cannot apply for a student loan nor can you get discretionary funding (that was once available under OU terms). I feel very sad for my friend on here who's hopes were put up by the thought of studying again, but cannot because she already holds a degree, and also cannot work due to poor health.
Being disabled is hard enough as it is, and having to give up a job because of poor health is soul destroying for some, I know I found myself in this situation and suffered for many years before I found the joys of studying. It might be many years since some people have achieved a degree, learning is a wonderful thing, having a degree should not prevent people who are in a difficulty financial position from studying. Discretionary funding should still be available, and every case examined on its own personal merit.
So yet again education is only available if you are rich grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr so angry and sad for my friend