Amy Tillotson - Access to Finance


For young working mum Amy Tillotson, a change in government funding for distance learning has meant the fulfilment of a long-held ambition to gain a degree.

Thirty-year-old mother-of-two Amy, who works as a Parent Support Adviser in Doncaster, Yorkshire, has always wanted to progress her career with a Psychology degree. But with young children and a mortgage to pay, she couldn’t afford to give up work so wanted to study by distance learning instead.

She registered with leading distance learning provider RDI two years ago – looking forward to the option of flexible study around her work and home commitments. But the cost was still out of her reach – until this year, when the government changed the rules so that distance learners are entitled to the same financial support as campus-based students.

Amy wasted no time in applying, and began her Applied Psychology BSc degree with RDI this autumn. She couldn’t be more excited.

Amy said: “I’d just returned work after having my son, Chase, when I got an email from RDI telling me that from September, I was entitled to the same financial support as campus based students. I could finally afford to do my degree! I applied immediately.”

She added: “There was only so far I could go in my career without a degree so this is really opening up possibilities for me. After this degree, I hope to do more study and perhaps specialise in educational psychology. There is so much I can look forward to now that I’ve been able to overcome what was a massive financial hurdle.”


Amy works as a Parent Support Advisor for Rowena Academy in Doncaster. She supports parents, children and carers to tackle barriers to learning and help children get the most out of school.

She tried to study for a degree straight after her A levels – but it wasn’t the right time for her and she dropped out to work instead.

She explains: “When I was doing my A levels, I didn’t know what I wanted to do – I still didn’t when I got my results. I’d always been interested in Psychology so I just went into clearing and got on a Psychology and Sociology course at Manchester University. I guess I was swept along a bit.

“I’d thought uni would be right for me but it wasn’t. I wasn’t in the right mind-set at all.”

Amy dropped out of her course and chose to work instead, taking on customer and supplier liaison roles with T-Mobile and Tesco. She started working with her current employer seven years ago as a Learning Support Assistant and it was this that re-triggered her interest in Psychology.

She said: “The job gave me first-hand, practical experience of what Psychology could achieve and that really made me keen to revisit study. I registered with RDI about two years ago to find out more and found a course I really wanted to do. It was perfect and was flexible enough to fit around my work and home-life. The problem was – despite it being so much more affordable than going back to uni, I still couldn’t afford it.”


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