Will I continue my education in later life?

Two letters published in today’s in the Education Section of today’s The Guardian perfectly sum up my thoughts about my continuing education after my not-so-far-off retirement from full-time work.

The Open University is affordable and top notch

Michele Hanson overstates the cost needed to exercise the little grey cells (University of later life, September 12). After retirement, I took three years of undergraduate courses, three years for an MA and another four years to get my PhD – all this at a cost of under £5,000 – at the Open University. By contrast, it would have cost me over £4,000 a year to get the Oxford DPhil. Standards of tuition were excellent and I could not have asked for a better supervisor. It came as no surprise to me to see the Open University jostling for top place in the recent student satisfaction league. Add the convenience of working at one’s own pace and not being tied to term dates, and it seems to me that anyone considering the course of action Hanson (rightly) recommends should seriously consider the OU.

Peter Higgins
Oxford

·Michele Hanson and I have almost exactly the same background and, at similar times, we both attended Birkbeck College. I read classics there for two years before finally graduating from the Open University when I was 65. As Hanson stated, there are no grants or subsidies after the first degree for mature students. But could she please note that £30 a week out of a state pension is a no no? I could not go on to an MA or fulfil my ambition of gaining a PhD so that my family could finally say with pride: “My daughter is a doctor!” Perhaps Hanson could start up a fund for me and other discriminated-against senior citizens.


Isabelle Harris
Hereford

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