Expert approach to funding

Matt Till explains how Birmingham City University is Open 4 Learning and enhancing the student experience along the way

As the Assistant Director of Student Services at Birmingham City University, I am centrally involved in the provision of high-quality services to enhance students’ learning experience before, during and after university.

The Student Services department exists to further the academic objectives of the University by facilitating students to remove or reduce some of the barriers which face them and to increase their independence and self-efficacy. Financial advice and support are, therefore, an essential part of our support remit, not only permitting students access to comprehensive, timely and accurate funding information, but also advising on budgeting, debt and general money matters.

Our commitment to provide students with such support has been enhanced with Idox’s Open 4 Learning tool. The system provides a funding database, locked down to our student catchment area, tailored to match our branding and integrated into our existing website. The system provides a wide range of information on, and access to, non-mainstream funding opportunities for students, complementing the existing support systems available. It is an excellent tool which has added value to the high-quality services provided by our team of specialist advisers. Crucially, it is an empowering tool which students can use themselves, day or night.

A year on since its implementation and the portal is well used by students with feedback showing that Open 4 Learning is considered easy to access and user-friendly. The tool provides students with access to an array of alternative funding opportunities – from tuition fees to accommodation, travel and equipment expenses and specific course-based grants. The portal is proving ROI with feedback from a recent user survey showcasing student funding successes as a direct result of using the portal.

The team at Idox are proactive in ensuring that Open 4 Learning is equipped with information relevant to Birmingham City University students, and the portal has become an important part of our student offer. It is an excellent tool for undergraduates and postgraduates alike.

For more information on Open 4 Learning, please visit www.open4learning.co.uk

Image credit: ‘Seacole Building’ by trash80 (talk)via Wikipedia

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