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OCA News: Student Fees from August 2022 - The Open College of the Arts
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OCA News: Student Fees from August 2022

We are announcing today, Tuesday 17th May 2022, the fees which will apply to the next academic year (from 1st August 2022 to 31st July 2023). At the start of the pandemic we made the decision to freeze our fees for the second consecutive year to reflect the difficult times affecting us all. From 2021 we restructured fees through a two-year programme approved by the OCA Trustees.

This new fee structure, which the Student Association has been consulted on in 2021, will provide a more transparent structure with changes to the cost per credit for all students at all course levels (also known as stages). 

For the forthcoming academic year, each credit studied at undergraduate level will be £37.50 per credit up from £34 per credit in 2021. So for a 40 credit unit (also referred to as module) this equates to £1,500, or £2,250 for a 60 credit unit. 

At postgraduate level the cost per credit is £45 up from £44 in 2021, so each 60 credit unit is £2,700

Foundation and short courses will be £935 and £305 respectively.

These fees apply to all UK-based students; international students are charged at a higher rate, to cover additional costs with the exception of short courses. Short course students will incur the same charge irrespective of their location. Full details of the fees can be found in the Student Fees Schedule.

Through our periodic reviews, our courses will be moving to an improved and more comprehensive format of three modules at all three levels. This has already occurred for half of our degree programmes, with the remaining programmes moving to this format from September 2022. This is especially important for Level 2, which will be moving from two 60 credit units to three 40 credit units. So while the overall cost for the level will increase, the cost per unit will be lower. We hope that with additional options to pay in instalments available, this will make it easier to afford for students.

We recognise that for some students there are financial difficulties so we are in 2022 increasing our hardship funding for students who may struggle to pay fees, and offering more tailored instalment options to reduce the impact of any change. Please see the Student Fees Schedule for details of instalment options.

With this new fee structure we are working hard on implementing enhanced services to improve your study experience. We introduced our new virtual learning environment, OCA Learn, and we will continue to develop and update this, we have added more study resources and library collections, and we have extended our use of the OCAWellbeing app which has proved popular with some OCA students. We are working with the student association to enhance study support and student communications, and are currently investing in these areas. In addition, we are giving students increased engagement time with tutors with more opportunity for tutor led peer sessions such as group critiques.

As a non-profit organisation OCA reinvests any income we receive to improve services to students, and for transparency we publish financial information for students annually to explain how the money received is spent. The latest information explains how funding was spent during 2020-21 https://www.oca.ac.uk/freedom-of-information/what-we-spend-and-how-we-spend-it/oca-financial-information/ 

Will Woods

Principal (OCA)

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Posted by author: Will Woods

8 thoughts on “OCA News: Student Fees from August 2022

  • Can someone explain why expats and foreigners have to pay more, now that everything is digital. Pre Covid there were the course material delivery and the many boxes to send back and forth, which made a higher price understandable. Is there a certain tax that OCA has to pay for selling us a course perhaps? Would be nice to know the explanation, as we are many that struggle to understand this distinction in them and us. Thanks in advance./Inger

  • I echo Inger’s comments.

    Not only do we pay more ‘to cover additional costs’ but we are also not eligible for student funding, we therefore have no choice but to self fund – I’d be interested to know what these additional costs are. I cannot see anything in the financial information nor financial statement that indicates additional costs incurred for overseas students though of course this is not a detailed statement.

    I believe that this question has been asked several times by other overseas students but as yet without a satisfactory answer.

    Thank you for your response.

  • I also echo Inger’s and Louise’s question, it would be great to understand the difference in fees for international students.

    In addition, it seems like an unfortunate choice to increase the fees at a time when the college is still going through a thorough restructuring and when there is still a mix of old and outdated course materials and some students are still on old course pathways. Why this choice today?

    Many thanks for your answer.

  • I can only join in echoing Inger’s, Louise’s and Brindusa’s comments. It would be great to receive an explanation on the justification of the higher fees for international students, and especially the great jump increase at the current state of things.
    Many thanks for your response!

  • Hi, thank you for your questions. Please see below.

    We pass on the actual costs to teach. We receive grant funding for UK students which is limited to those studying within the UK alone, but we offer the same services to all students so consequently international students pay slightly more. The costs to provide services will be higher too, administration, financial payment processing, and tuition, and logistics where applicable. Even with a predominantly digital provision, the costs are higher for overseas provision, whilst we absorb some of the costs the rest must be passed on by way of higher fees for international students. One of the key elements is licensing of materials and course texts which are higher in international territories, but also the administration costs are higher too: higher finance processing charges (from banks etc), transaction fees, bank charges, debt provision. In addition, there are higher costs of arranging overseas events (even where these are digital), plus there are still logistics costs which are inherently higher the greater the distance factoring in customs charges etc. Also, there will still be some physical materials sent out, just in different formats. The pandemic has seen a 30% increase in enrolments, and a fourfold increase in support requests as students get ill or have caring responsibilities or need to pause their studies, leading to increase in support staff and services to support extension, deferrals, managing mitigating circumstances and wellbeing.

    It would be wrong to think that the pandemic alone has significantly adjusted how we teach. We have always taught by distance and used online tools to support learners and all our tutors are home-based. We have moved assessment practices digitally, but OCA has also seen a 50% increase in the number of submissions for assessment due to improvement in student progression and completion, so this has led to additional support and management around assessment processes and increased their duration and complexity.

    OCA fees remain significantly lower than those of other UK distance learning providers for anyone studying from the EU or International (OCA £4.6k per level, Arden £5.5k per level and OU 6.5k per level). We work to keep these fees competitive and to reduce additional costs of study where possible to keep the overall cost of study affordable.

    OCA is a charity and almost all the income we receive comes from fees. If you wish to make a case for international students being cross subsidized by UK students then you can make a case for that through your student rep and our trustees will consider that at the next fee review point in 2023.



  • Can i get a student loan to complete the course as a UK resident as a mature student who had never studied at undergraduate level

    • Hi Jude

      Our degree courses can be funded through student finance for those eligible and you will usually be eligible for student finance if you are doing your first higher education qualification. There is no upper age limit, and you can apply if you are a UK national, have ‘settled status’ or normally live in the UK. By logging on to the appropriate Student Finance website (England, Wales, Northern Ireland) you will be able to complete a short eligibility check to be sure. Please do note however our degrees are NOT eligible for Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) funding.

      Kind regards

      Student Experience Adviser

  • I am a very upset L2 student as my course fees have increased from £1670 for 60 credits (£27/credit) 2020/21 to £2250 for 60 credits ( £37.5/ credit). This would suggest an error with £34/ credit stated above. Can you please explain. In addition the course that I am planning is in photography DIC, which is being phased out. So, my understanding is this, my fees have moved from £1670 to £2250 (an increase of 35%) on a course that is being phased out. I have sought an explanation from admin and they advised that the costs have been approved by the trustees and are in line with the terms and condition. Perhaps I have miss understood and an explanation would be appreciated.

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