We are announcing today, on the 1 March, the fee increases which will take effect from 1 September. We are giving six months notice because the fee increases are significant and we appreciate that students need time to consider their enrolment plans in the light of the increases.
In October 2010, Lord Browne published his review of funding of Higher Education. From that point onward, it was clear that undergraduate fees in the most of the UK were going to increase dramatically. As an educational charity whose purpose is to widen participation in arts education, OCA Directors and Trustees have worked to minimise the increases for our students. In approaching this task, we have sought to strike a balance between protecting our current students and the fees faced by new students.
Our current students will be protected from the full increase in fees through a subsidy from OCA reserves. Fees will rise by an average of 12% on 1 September 2012 and our intention is that fees will then remain constant in real terms (i.e. rise no faster than the rate of inflation) until 1 September 2017. This means any student currently actively studying with the OCA will have until the end of 2019 to complete their studies under the protected fee regime. Current students will be protected regardless of where they live in the world. This means fees for current students will be as follows:
2012/13 UK Fee
Level 1 module £700
Level 2 & 3 modules £835
We are aware that the decision to study for a degree is not one taken quickly. For this reason all students enrolling with the OCA before 1 June 2012 will be counted as current students for fee purposes and will be able to enrol at the protected fee rates until 1 September 2017. Students enrolling between 1 June and the end of August 2012 will be able to enrol at the current fee rates but will not benefit from protected fee rates in the future.
New students enrolling from 1 September 2012 will have to meet the full economic costs of their course. This means that fees for UK based students will increase by an average of 62% and fees will be as follows:
2012/13 UK Fee
Level 1 module £975
Level 2 & 3 modules £1,250
Full degree cost £7,925
From September the Government is extending the student loan scheme to part-time students. This is a welcome move and means that for the first time, many new OCA students based in the UK who do not already have a degree will be able to get a loan to pay their fees and will only start to repay the loan when their earnings exceed £21,000. There is a loan calculator on the Directgov website here.
The full details of the fee increases, including the definition of current student, the rates for non-UK students and changes to the installments plans are set out in the attached document.
Value for money
While we would rather not increase our fee levels and feel that many aspects of the changes to the HE funding regime are negative, we remain convinced that studying for a degree with Open College of the Arts remains excellent value for money.
In an environment where fees elsewhere have multiplied, the cost of OCA study as a percentage of alternative study options has fallen dramatically. Before the changes, the cost of study with the OCA was broadly the same as with the OU. After the changes, study with the OCA will be just over half the cost of the OU and less than a third of the cost of many traditional universities.
In October 2010 we said any changes would not be made without consulting the OCA Student Association and we have kept this pledge. OCASA have today published a separate response to our announcement.