COVENTRY, England, November 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Students who want to study for their degree online are able to get tuition fee loans for the first time, thanks to changes to student funding.
This autumn's intake of distance learners are the first to benefit from the changes. They will be able to secure upfront tuition fee loans to cover the cost of their degree course, only repaying the cost of their learning when they have completed their studies and are earning more than £21,000 a year.
Leading distance learning provider RDI has hailed the move as a 'watershed' for UK education - opening up new opportunities for thousands of students who can't afford, or do not want, to pursue a traditional campus-based university education.
Dr Philip Hallam, Chief Executive of RDI, said: "For the first time, distance learners are on a level playing field with campus-based students - able to fund their studies upfront. It's fantastic news, especially in such a tough economic climate, and removes a major barrier to study."
Amy Tillotson, a thirty year old working mum from Doncaster, is one of the first to benefit from the changes. She said: "I've wanted to do a psychology degree for ages and knew it would help in my job. I actually registered with RDI two years ago but with two young children and a mortgage to pay, even the lower cost of a distance learning degree was too much of a financial stretch.
"That's why I was so excited to hear about the funding changes. I applied straight away. I can keep working, look after my son and daughter, and really boost my professional knowledge and career prospects - this is such a huge opportunity for me."
This year RDI reported that applications for online UK university accredited degrees were up 38% on 2011 - a stark contrast to the UCAS applications which were down 8.9%.
University degrees studied by distance learning, such as those offered by RDI, cost just £8,995 - a third of the £27,000 tuition fee price tag attached to traditional campus based university degree courses. This saving, combined with the tuition loan changes, means that increased demand for distance learning is a trend that looks set to continue.
To find out more about distance learning opportunities and changes to tuition loans entitlement, visit http://www.rdi.co.uk.