Young Open University student numbers increase
The number of young people taking Open University courses has seen a sharp rise, the educational body has said.
Its figures show an "unprecedented" 34% increase in 18 to 24-year-olds doing a distance learning degree.
Some 70% of Open University students study part-time, allowing them to earn money while taking a degree.
The university says this can bolster students' chances of getting a job at the end of their studies, and frees them of student debt.
The Open University (OU) now uses the internet to publish lectures and recently recorded 22.5m downloads on iTunes.
The university claims this is a world record for the number of iTunes downloads. They are distributed through the "iTunes U" educational area of the online service.
The OU now has 525 courses available on the internet, with 162,000 students taking online courses.
In any 24-hour period, there will be 45,000 Open University students working online.