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Where do student fees go?

The OU has always put students first. Ever wondered where the OU spends its money and how your tuition fee contributes to this?

In common with all UK Universities, The Open University financial year runs from 1 August to the following 31 July. A summary of expenditure appears below along with a brief narrative to explain each line. For more detailed information please refer to the annual Financial Statements, published in December every year and available at the Freedom of Information website.

Expenditure summary

Academic Faculties

This comprises expenditure incurred by the University’s academic faculties on all their activities except external research, which is shown below. This line includes expenditure on Associate Lecturers.

External Research Projects

This is the direct expenditure incurred on externally funded research projects.

Student and Learning Support Services

Activities that support the academic activities of the faculties are shown here, including Student Support Teams, Library services, support to tutors, examinations and learning materials production.

University Support Services

This line includes the cost of central university services such as Information Technology (for example OU Live, OU Anywhere, and the University’s IT infrastructure) and Human Resources.

University Premises

This comprises the running costs of the University’s estate along with the annual depreciation charge.

Expenditure £m %
Academic Faculties 175.9 42%
External Research Projects 12.4 3%

Total Teaching and Research



Student and Learning Support Services



University Support Services (excl. premises) 77.0 18%
University Premises 27.1 6%

Total University Support Services



Total expenditure 421.2 100%

The figures listed in this table reflect the expenditure occurred within year ended 31 July 2017.

Funding to run the OU comes from several sources—the largest of which is tuition fees from UK and international students, find out more.