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Brexit and continuing your study with the OU

From 1 January 2021, the Brexit transition period will come to an end, and new rules will come in for individuals and organisations in the UK. If you’re already studying with the Open University (OU), the impact on your study should be minimal, but this page outlines what you need to be aware of.

We want to reassure all our international students, whether resident within the UK, across Europe or elsewhere, that everyone is as welcome as ever to study with the OU and we do not anticipate any immediate or significant impacts on your studies, as a result of Brexit. The OU’s mission remains unchanged and the UK is still a major global trading nation with one of the best higher education sectors in the world.

This page tells you what we currently know about Brexit and how this will relate to the University, but as the situation is changeable as negotiations and decisions are ongoing, we will update this page as more becomes clear. Our situation as a distance and online learning institution is slightly different to other UK universities because issues around residency in order to study are not directly relevant, but we are monitoring any changes to general rights to study.

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Fees and funding

At the OU, we remain committed to providing a high-quality UK education that represents outstanding value for money.

If you are already studying towards a qualification with the OU, your current fee status will not change.

This means that irrespective of whether you are an EU national living in the UK, in the EU or elsewhere in the world, from 01 Jan 2021 (Brexit transition) you will retain the same fees and funding eligibility that you currently have, provided you continue studying on your qualification.

This in turn means that you will continue to pay fees at a similar rate to what you currently pay. You also will continue to be eligible for any funding you currently receive (for example tuition fee loans in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or SAAS funding in Scotland) for the remainder of your qualification.

Our fees usually increase annually from 1 August for all students (irrespective of location or fee status).They do so at a modest rate, in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. Fees are published for the next academic year (e.g. 21/22) when we open for registration in March.

The continuation of your current fees and funding arrangements applies to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. However, in line with current policies and procedures, if you complete your current qualification and then enrol on a new study programme (which may be at undergraduate or postgraduate study) your fee status will be re-assessed.

If you stop and return to study (lapse) or change qualification

If you allow your status as a continuing student to lapse (i.e. you do not study with us for two years or more), or you change to a different qualification following a year without studying, then you will be treated as a new student and your fees and funding eligibility will be re-assessed.

If you are not currently studying towards a qualification, your fee status will be re-assessed if and when you enrol on a new module. You can contact your student support team (SST), if you want to link your studies to date towards a qualification.

See Residency and funding for more information.

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Other study costs

We do not anticipate significant changes to any additional costs you might experience in your study, for example,

  • Residential school or compulsory day schools may involve travel to the UK (note these are currently all taking place online due to COVID-19). If a module requires attendance at such an event, this will be mentioned in the module details.
  • A fee is also payable for exams that are taken outside stated countries/territories. (Note that until at least 31 December 2021 all students will take remote exams at home, so this cost is not currently applicable).
  • Personal study costs such as a purchasing a computer, travelling to face to face tutorials (once these resume), buying set books that are not provided as part of the module materials, and ensuring you have internet access to allow you to engage with your studies.
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Qualification recognition

Our qualifications are recognised through the Bologna process, which extends beyond the European Union. The University is also accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in America.

We can provide an academic transcript of your studies called a Diploma Supplement which provides additional detail about your study in addition to your certificate. If you have already graduated you can download this from your StudentHome study record.

While we do not know yet how qualifications will be recognised in different jurisdictions, Universities UK expect the Government to keep existing recognitions. However, official recognition of qualifications gained outside the country in which you wish to work or study is complex. Each country has its own legal and administrative framework, with which you must comply, and there are supranational directives, for example within the EU, which often add to the complexity.

This is a fast-changing area, within which any advice is temporary, so you will need to inform yourself before seeking recognition. This is explained in more depth in our recognition leaflet. Note you may have to change your country or region at to access the leaflet.

We will carry on offering a university education of the highest quality, with the flexibility and support that helps our students to succeed, often combining study with work, caring and other responsibilities. We also continue to will work with the rest of the higher education sector to ensure that the strengths of all our excellent universities are recognised and built upon in future international agreements.

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Travel to face-to-face tutorials, compulsory day or residential schools

Optional face-to-face tutorials all have online versions which may be a better option for students living outside of the UK. At present all tutorials for modules starting in or before February 2021, are being delivered online only, due to COVID-19.

If you are resident outside the UK and need to travel to the UK for a day or residential school (once these resume as face-to-face events), you'll need to check the requirements for travelling to the UK, for your situation. The UK Government advice on travelling to the UK may help. If you cannot travel to the UK but are required to attend a compulsory day or residential school, you should contact your Student Support Team (SST) to discuss your options.

On some of our modules, we run residential schools that are based outside of the UK. The UK Government provides advice on travelling to Europe.

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Last updated 10 months ago