The Tory led coalition have cut OU funding so much that in 2012 a 120 point part-time module will cost £5000!!! ($8063 USD)
This will put an end to my studies with them as I cannot justify spending that much. It will be at least 2 yrs before I have time to take another and I have no idea what I will have to pay by then (probably more).
How it works.
If you are already studying:
“The first thing I’d really like to stress is that if you’re a current student with us your fees will not be affected by the government changes so long as you are studying towards an undergraduate OU qualification for example a certificate, diploma or degree and will start a module on or after September 2012 and before August 2013.
In addition, either you’ve completed a module which began between September 2010 and August 2011 or you’re studying a module that starts between September 2011 and August 2012.
If you meet these criteria your fees will follow the existing pricing structure and you’ll have access to the same financial support options, as long as you continue to study each year until you achieve your qualification or until 2017, whichever is earlier”
It means (I’ll use my case as an example) that because I will be finishing my current module at the end of September but will be unable to realistically start another module for some time. As many of you know I am due to have my second child this week, and study while being full-time mum to a two year old and a new-born will be impossible. Even though I am signed up to a BA (Honours) History degree (it was open but I changed it) I will be ineligible for the existing fees and unable to pay the new fees because I don’t qualify for assistance. It also renders the work I have already done, a waste of time, effort and money.
“To be eligible for a tuition fee loan, this must generally be the first time you’re studying on a higher education course. To qualify you must complete a minimum of 25 per cent of the equivalent full-time course load per year.
New part-time students can’t get a grant for their living costs.
Existing part-time students with a household income under £28,066 will continue to receive a fee grant and course grant instead of a tuition fee loan.”
So I’m neither eligible for a loan or a grant because?:
- This is not my first higher education course as 6th form and A’ levels count as higher education AND I already completed a 10 point course in 2007.
- To complete 25% of a 360 point course requires (other than removing the flexibility of the OU set up) I complete/earn at least 60 points a year (the modules come in 10, 30, 60 & 120 point levels) and I will have already done 70 by the end of this one. This will I mean if I want to continue on the ‘same prices’, I would have to sign up to another Level 1 or 2 module (that I won’t have time for) which starts this year/early next year or I will be unable to complete the required points (with a new baby in the house) . There ARE NO small modules on the history syllabus which STILL means I’m being hard-sold either a 60 or 120 point module to start this year.
- We have a household income of more than the maximum £28066 per yr, so no grant either.
If you are a new student
“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.
Open University courses are based on a point system with 360 credits of study adding up to a full honours undergraduate degree. For more information see What are credits?
Of course you don’t have to study at 120 points a year and the price you pay will be proportionate to the standard fee, so, for example, if you only study 60 points a year you will pay 50 per cent of the standard fee (£2,500). And for 30 points a year you will only pay 25 per cent of the standard fee (£1,250).”
The Tories are working hard now to return further education as a path to gain real qualifications (that doesn’t mean just business studies, law or medicine, people) to being a privilege for the rich, rather than the right it really is. If someone wants to learn, that knowledge should not be held at ransom. It should certainly NOT be held out of reach through the use a price tag which forces people to plough through their savings, take out loans they can’t afford or generally become indebted to the state (which is what I suspect they are engineering: an obligated and captive workforce while they slowly attack employment rights from the other side). What the Tories are doing to education (and everything else) in this country is evil and immoral, and if the people who voted them to power have even a shred of basic human decency they will hang their heads in shame and vote them back OUT next time round. I only hope they don’t do too much damage in the mean time.
Rather than making sure tax-loopholes are closed and the very rich are paying their fair share, they try to sell off our forests or fiddle with NHS funding and try to make GP surgeries become accountants instead of focusing on what they trained to do: HEAL PEOPLE. Rather than ensuring the banks repay their tax-payer-funded loans prior to spending vast amounts on bonuses to the people who caused the banks to nearly collapse in the first place, they try to get schools to buy themselves from the state and become ‘free-schools/academies’ on a short road to privatising education.
When they took the cap off tuition fees, allowing universities to charge £9k a year they opened a flood gate while they were at it by quietly cutting funding to the OU too. I also predicted what the exodus from standard universities would mean in an earlier post. This could truly mean the end of the Open University as fewer and fewer people will have access to the education they deserve.