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  4. How is the OU Funded?

How is the OU Funded?

Although most of our funding does come from UK and international student fees, we also receive money via the UK Government in the form of funding body grants and through our own fundraising.

Sources of income

Here’s a breakdown of where the University’s income (in £m and percentage of total income) comes from:

Income % of Total (£m) 
Tuition fees and educational contracts 70% (330.7)
Funding body grants 20% (96.6)
Research grants and contracts 3% (11.9)
Investment income 3% (13.7)
Donations and endowments 1% (3.2)
Other income 4% (18)

The figures listed in this table and pie chart reflect the income received within the academic year from 1 August 2019 to 31 July 2020.

Tuition Fees

This is made up of tuition fees for OU modules and programmes, directly from students or sponsors, and from the Student Loans Company and Open University Student Budget Accounts Limited (OUSBA). OUSBA provides credit facilities to OU students to allow them to pay tuition fees in instalments.

Funding Body Grants

This is made up of grants received from all funding bodies. Because The Open University operates across the whole of the UK we are funded for our teaching activities by all the national higher education funding bodies. For research, we are funded by Research England, and not by any of the other national funding bodies.

Research Grants and Contracts

These arise from competitive bids for funding from a range of public and private funders.

Other Income

This comes from a wide variety of sources, including grants from the European Union and charitable bodies.

Investment Income

This is income from interest received from bank deposits and other investments.

Donations and Endowments

This includes all donations and endowments. Many of our former students donate to the University

For more detailed information please refer to the annual Financial Statements, available at the Freedom of Information website