The Open University (OU) has announced (Tuesday 29 May) that it is withdrawing the union fee discount for new undergraduate students beginning their study in England from 1 September 2012, due to the changes to the way higher education is funded in England and the cost associated with maintaining the scheme. For students in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the fee discount arrangements will remain in place for the academic year 2012/13 and fees will only change, as is normal, in line with inflation.
Changes to the way higher education is funded in England have reduced the OU’s income by more than £90 million. The OU is therefore reviewing all of its costs in order to protect services to all our students and keep fees as low as possible, while sustaining high quality and remaining true to its mission of being open to all.
The OU remains committed to the union partnerships which have been successful under the previous funding system, however the new funding arrangements mean the OU needs to explore new ways to maintain and develop opportunities for union members in England to study with the OU.
Government changes mean that the vast majority of part-time students in England considering starting their studies after 1 September 2012 can now access student loans for the very first time. Students accessing the government’s Part-time Tuition Fee Loan can defer payment of their fees until four years after commencing their studies and will only begin repayments if they are earning more than £21,000.
The arrangements for the funding of higher education are different across the four Nations of the UK and internationally. Find out more about the financial support options that may be available to you.