20 Jul

It was inevitable, I suppose. The Open University is going to be charging a lot more for its courses. Full information can be found here.

For students in England studying with us for the first time from 1 September 2012 there will be a standard fee of £5,000 based on 120 credits of study. This is equivalent to a year’s full-time study at traditional universities.

Now the majority of OU students study part time, like me. Part time study equals 60 credits per academic year and that will cost £2,500.

Currently, each course costs a different amount. My next one is AA315 and that has cost £700. However – and here is what really encouraged me to study with the OU – I have been awarded financial support. I have not had to pay for any of my OU courses, which is what made it so very attractive to me as a 23 year old who only works part time and already owes £8k to the Student Loans Company. Now I believe I am correct in thinking that from September 2012, gone are the days of financial support: now you have to be like any other student and have a student loan.

Previously, student loans were not available to part time students, but they are now, which obviously makes the plan more feasible.

Now, for those who are already an OU student working towards a certificate, diploma or degree, it’s a little bit more complicated, but there is a nice guide and video for you here.

I have to be honest… these changes anger me. I am not, in any way, angry at the OU. These changes will not affect me. But I am angry for the group of kids who happen to be a couple of years younger than me and will pay over twice as much for the same standard of education that I received. I am angry at the government who received their education for free. I feel our generation is being left behind by previous generations who had everything handed to them on a golden platter.

The most irritating thing about all of this is that it only applies to students in England. Not Northern Irish, Welsh or Scottish students. So if you aren’t English, well done on living where you do now.

These fees are still way below what other universities are charging; £4,000 less. This is good; it will make the university a lot more attractive to students who balk at the idea of paying £9,000 a year (which I frankly think is a disgusting amount). Also, less fees means less interest.

But it is a blow to the idea of education as a right. I believe education is a right. It is not a privilege. Knowledge is not something that should be denied to those who are unable to pay. It’s a shame for those students who are ‘hobbyists’; who study for the pure enjoyment of studying. Paying such extortionate fees will turn education into a commodity; something that can be bought and sold, and not something that is valued as a pastime in its own right.

Many people ask why I study History of Art. I study it because it interests me. I have never been one to think about future job prospects. I study for the pure enjoyment of learning, and I fear that such fees will change how we view certain subjects, particularly the arts. A world without artists, dancers, actors, musicians is a very bleak world indeed. A country where the vast majority of the population stopped studying at 18 is also very bleak. How are we expected to compete with China, Japan, Germany? Many people moan about immigration, but think of how many immigrants work in the NHS. More will be needed now.

These fee hikes were inevitable, and we should not be blaming the university. They are still offering fees at a far lower price than all other universities, and that is something to be proud of. But it is a sad day for education and the notion of life-long learning.

Nikki x


Posted by on July 20, 2011 in OU, Politics


6 responses to “Fees.

  1. atriune

    July 23, 2011 at 3:28 am

    You raise some good points with this.

    Where you point out the difference between the OU and other Unis is interesting. Although it is cheaper, it is worth bearing in mind, the OU has no on-site facilities for students… students which teach themselves. Makes me balk a little, 5k a year at a uni where the students teach themselves?

    And you’re right too about it being inevitable, and not really the OUs fault. Although, I do suspect that greed is at least a motivator on some levels (honestly… it generally is).

    But it’s really sad… Especially for the young who don’t have degrees. The elderly/retired who, finally, have decided they want one. The disabled, who have no other choice. And even just those who are in love learning… For many, the alternative will now just be book, or worse, the TV.

    And that education discrepancy… To me, that’s the really sad thing. What could have been.

    As for me, I’m a freelance Search Engine Optimizer and Copywriter. I’m studying a BsC in Environmental Students – loads of science. It’s been hard, but liked it a lot. You know, it’d be nice to work with environmental NGOs in the long run.

    But really the main thing has really been self improvement, teaching myself I could, you know… actually learn to write academically, sit exams, and do something I had never done before.

    As you say, it’s sad this is another tool of education taken away from many young people… RIP The “Open” University.

  2. terry montgomery

    August 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I study for the love of education and I am saddened by a government that wants to stamp on lifelong learning. The results of their pathetic attempt to make the poorest pay for the excess of the richest are not even in line with their stated expectations. (how many unis were supposed to charge the maximum?) Let’s stop accepting an education system that is rapidly returning to a wealth based system and vote this lot out at the earliest opportunity.

  3. mark

    August 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    It reminds me of that infamous Sun headline the day after Labour lost the 1992 election – will the last student to complete their degree please turn off the lights? 18 year olds don’t want the OU experience and mature students can’t afford £2500 for a 60 point course. This is such a sad moment for anyone who hopes to change their life or their career, and it is probably the end of the OU, at least as the institution it was founded to be.

  4. Tony

    August 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Simply put it will be the end of the Open University as Mark correctly stated. I fail to see how an increase of 3.5X can be justified for a 60 point course. I am dismayed, disgusted and saddened that this quite horrible government of ours, are being allowed to wreck such a great institution.

  5. Steve T

    December 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Its a sad sad day and we have witnessed the sad demise of a dear friend!
    I manage to get £700 a year together to study somehow, I would not get myself into debt, no matter what the government calls it it is still a debt of £15,000, to study on my own.
    Sign the petition and Shame on you to those in power!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: