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Student Fees from August 2024 - The Open College of the Arts

To find out more details about the transfer to The Open University see A New Chapter for OCA.

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Student Fees from August 2024

We are announcing today the fees which will apply in the next academic year (from 01 August 2024 to 31 July 2025). As a registered charity we are committed to providing value for money whilst ensuring the sustainability and financial health of the organisation in order to enable us to continue to offer these services in the future and over the lifespan of your studies with us.


Last year we explained that our organisational costs were rapidly increasing, due to both inflation which is being felt around the world, and costs associated with our move to The Open University. This has continued to happen as the organisation has moved from a position of surplus, to a position of deficit, with a forecast accumulated deficit of circa £900,000 by the end of the 23/24 financial year. 


Why is this happening? 

  • OCA’s operational costs have increased, both as a consequence of our transfer to The Open University, and inflation. 
  • Increases we are making to support services and other areas of provision under The Open University, whilst these create an enhanced experience for students, they also come with increased costs. These services include new posts and increased provision across support teams at OCA, including Information, Advice, and Guidance, Learner Support, Library support, Technology Enhanced Learning just to name some.  
  • In addition we are making systems and cybersecurity improvements as we change the ‘back office’ environment to align with OU systems and processes, which will lead to enhancements in the service we can provide. 
  • Finally, the enrolment pause required as part of the transfer and changes to the Student Finance environment both reduced income at the back end of the 22/23 academic year, and resulted in lower than expected enrolments in the first quarter of the 23/24 academic year. 


All of these things combined to contribute to the financial picture we have outlined. Our aim is to return to positive reserves as soon as possible to ensure that we can continue to make meaningful improvements to the services we provide.


We did increase student fees in 22/23 in order to try to mitigate some of these rising costs however the trustees at the time took a conservative approach and as explained (and as is evident from our financial statements) the costs have continued to grow and outpace the income. 


Student Fees 2024/25


For UK students in the forthcoming academic year, each credit studied at undergraduate level will be £51.55 per credit (£41.25 in 2023/24). So for a 40 credit unit this equates to £2,062, or £3,093 for a 60 credit unit. (25% increase)


For International students in the forthcoming academic year, each credit studied at undergraduate level will be £59.05 per credit (£47.25 in 2023/24). So for a 40 credit unit this equates to £2,362, or £3,543 for a 60 credit unit. (25% increase)


At postgraduate level the cost per credit for new cohorts beginning in 2024 is £61.88 (£49.50 in 2023/24), so each 60 credit unit is £3,713 for UK students; and for students outside the UK £82.50 (£66 2023/24) per credit, so each 60 credit unit is £4,950. (25% increase).


Foundation courses will increase to £1,075 (£1,025 in 2023/24) for UK-based students and £1,235 (£1,175 in 2023/24) for international students.


Short courses will increase to £350 (£335 in 2023/24), these fees apply to all UK-based and international students.




Increasing tuition fees is, at the moment, the only way for OCA to cover the increasing costs that we are facing. We do not receive additional funding in the form of external grants or sponsorship, which we are aiming to improve in the coming years through establishing further short courses and HTQ provision to diversify our income. Our strategic plan sets out the ways we will do this. 


OCA fees (and OCA services) remain different to those of the Open University since OCA does not yet operate or receive the same nation specific subsidies for study, and therefore the Board of Trustees have listened to you when approving these fees to ensure that they represent the quality and value for money you can expect from OCA provision. 


We recognise that some students will face financial difficulties during their study so we are increasing the amount of hardship funding available for students who may struggle to pay fees. We are also increasing the criteria and number of funding applications which are considered, therefore making a greater number of students eligible for structured bursaries and support to study. In particular due to the impact of fees on self-funding students we are arranging targeted bursaries to support students at greater risk of falling into hardship. We are offering additional advice to students on ways to find funding to support study as you may not be aware of all of the options available to you.


The College remains committed to working with the student association to enhance study support and student communications, and are currently investing in these areas. This includes the recruitment of posts to directly assist students in areas such as library support, disabled student support and learning environment and technology enhancement. 


Fee increases are unwelcome, especially with this cost-of-living crisis that we are all experiencing. We are working with the student association and using our evidence of bursary and subsidy uptake to understand the impact on different groups of OCA students and to target support for those most vulnerable and we are working very hard to minimise the impact of these increases on everyone who chooses to study with us. We will be working with The Open University to create new financing options for students and to explain options for seeking funding, and where applicable subsidisation of study.

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Posted by author: Will Woods

8 thoughts on “Student Fees from August 2024

  • I’m losing trust in OCA as an institution.

    I’m currently on Photography 1.2. In my first year prices were raised 17% and now this… how are these increases sustainable if I have 7 more units to go?

    I need to finish 1.2 and then consider options. I will not be held to ransom and continue this course at any cost

  • Hi Ben, we would rather not have to increase fees, price rises are never welcome. Unfortunately the institutional costs are increasing. OCA fees are below the part-time fee limit https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/promoting-equal-opportunities/access-and-participation-plans/fee-limits/ and remain extremely competitive in the market. I agree that students should always seek value for money and no student is held to ransom. Due to the modular nature of study any student may seek to use the credits gained to study elsewhere; however I would urge students to look critically at what other providers are charging as OCA will continue to represent value for money for a quality creative arts degree. Students who need assistance with managing the cost of study should contact our support team to see what options are available. We have a bursary fund and are putting in place additional targeted support to those most affected by the increase. If students want to get more involved then I would also encourage students to participate in the student association which is a way to allow you to get involved directly in the decision making process and to hold the organisation to account to ensure that the College delivers on value and quality.

  • Thank you for the detailed explanation regarding the upcoming student fees for the academic year 2024/25. It’s clear that the decision to increase fees has been carefully considered in light of the organization’s financial situation and the need to maintain quality services. The commitment to providing value for money while also increasing hardship funding and support for students facing financial difficulties is commendable. It’s reassuring to see efforts being made to mitigate the impact of these fee increases on students. #StudentFees #OCA #FinancialSupport

  • Please explain how this increase in fees is compatible with the statement made only a few months ago in the Q&A about the transfer to the OU that: “fees will remain broadly the same until at least 2025 …..”

    How can I have any confidence that fees, when I reach the final units of my degree, will be at all affordable when they rise by 25% in a single year? After embarking on a degree course and reaching Level 2, I now discover that if I want t finish it, I have effectively signed a blank cheque.

    What assurances can you give us that fees won’t rise by a similar sized leap in 2025 and subsequent years?

  • As someone looking to enrol on an undergraduate course, these fee increases have caused a considerable worry. How can I have confidence committing financially to an institution that not only willing increases fees by 25%, but makes no promise that increase fees at a similar rate in subsequent years won’t happen. Whilst I understand that overall costs have increased for education providers, without a guaranteed or ‘fixed’ fee structure in place at enrolment, how can the institution expect to enrol self-funded students, who will essentially be signing a blank cheque for the years come.

  • I started my studies in Sep 2022. My first module cost £1500. I have just finished my second. If I were to continue my next module would cost £2062 a 37% increase in 2 years. There is nothing in your announcement that makes me think the next increase will be anything less than the 18% p.a. I have experienced so far. From a student perspective it is impossible to know how much my degree would cost. So whilst OCA might be the cheapest option for next module I can have no confidence they will remain so for the one after… who knows what the true cost of an OCA will be? Any organisation that hikes fees in this must expect to lose students. I will be your first as a result of this announcement.

  • I am interested in the comment included in this blog which says ‘Increases we are making to support services and other areas of provision under The Open University, whilst these create an enhanced experience for students…’. I would really like to know what enhanced experience as a learner I can expect for the extra cost. Does this just relate to things outside of the teaching/learning like advice and guidance? If so, then for the majority of us that presumably don’t need to use these services there is no enhanced experience at all. The UCA library was great, the OU library doesn’t seem to give much extra but is still great. I’m not really sure what is meant by ‘Technology Enhanced Learning’ – is that the fairly basic onscreen PDF with links which don’t always work? Spaces and Padlets are clunky, Ponapto is limited in its functionality and we all pay for licences for software to use for our courses as these aren’t provided. The one thing about the degree which made it attractive when I first started was the price relative to other institutions – for this lower price I didn’t expect to get the full ‘university experience’ or even the high quality experience I’ve had in the past studying with the OU, but if I’m going to have to pay more to finish my degree then I expect a lot more for my money. Hence my point: I would really like to know what enhanced experience as a learner I can expect.

  • I did an OU module and the student “experience” is probably worse than OCA is.
    Software was ancient/slow/barely fit for purpose. Forum boards were heavily policed by tutors who DID NOT like any criticism. Thus stifling forum participation. Tutors were lazy and complacent.
    So not filled with joy at what might be alleged “enhancements”

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