Open… about our pricing.
Living up to our name.
Every year, the team at Open Awards reviews the prices we charge for our products and services. This doesn’t always result in an increase to charges. Until the 2021/22 academic year, our prices had been frozen for three years as we are able to absorb any increase in operating costs without impacting the quality of our service.
In 2021/22 and again for 2022/23, we have introduced a small increase to some of our costs to ensure we can continue to provide the level and type of service expected from us by our providers and to reflect the new products and services introduced over the last few years.
In the spirit of living up to our name of ‘Open’, we have reflected on how pricing decisions are made and how we decide whether to charge for something or not.
Learner Registration Fees
These are calculated taking a range of factors into account when deciding registration fees, including:
- Risk level of the qualification
- Specialist content
- External quality assurance arrangements
- Assessment methodology
- Size and level of the qualifications
For our higher level qualifications, we have for 2022/23 moved away from a single price per size/level to ensure that we are pricing each qualification fairly based on what it costs us to deliver. This allows us to keep the costs down for providers across our offer.
We don’t have separate fees for registrations and awards; one registration fee per learner covers everything they need to be registered with Open Awards and to receive their Certificate once their achievement has been verified.
For End-point Assessment, we charge 5% of the apprentice fee at the point of registration, and only invoice for the other 95% once the learner reaches gateway. This reflects the point that the majority of our work as an End-point Assessment Organisation starts when the learner is deemed ready for assessment.
There are no hidden costs for courses of different lengths or where they span over multiple academic years. That is because the length of a course doesn’t impact what it costs Open Awards to externally quality assure it. We only charge additional fees where there is a direct cost to us that we need to recover.
There are no minimum registration costs – you will only be invoiced for the learners you actually register whether that’s 1 learner or 1000 learners. We review this decision every year given the general trend across the sector to have minimum numbers of learners, but every year we make the decision to retain our commitment to working with smaller providers, particularly SEND schools and the third sector. Last year, we saw a Specialist College offer an Access to HE Diploma to one learner; and that learner progressed to university.
We charge a one-off provider approval fee when you apply to become a centre with us. This is only applicable to providers wanting to work with Open Awards to deliver qualifications, units and courses. It does not apply to providers and employers choosing Open Awards as an End-point Assessment Organisation.
This cost covers the time spent by your dedicated Business Development Manager and our customer support teams in reviewing your application, planning your curriculum, and training you on the procedures you will need to implement. This fee is reviewed every year against the actual costs Open Awards incur to ensure that we are charging a fair price for the time the team spend with new providers.
The fee is only charged at the point of a full application being submitted by the provider. Before then, your Business Development Manager will talk you through the process, ensure they understand your curriculum plans and initial checks that we can meet your needs as a provider (both in terms of product, and level of service). This means we are confident we will not invoice you for any money until we are both happy that you can meet Open Awards policies and procedures and that we are the right awarding organisation for you.
Once approved, we charge an annual fee. This is always pro rata’d for your first year of delivery up to the end of July; you only pay for time we will spend with you. The annual fee covers unlimited access to training, webinars and support sessions; as well your external quality assurance and compliance activities. We have previously limited places on training to two per academic year per provider with anything additional charged. However, we know that both you as the provider and we as the awarding organisation save money and time by ensuring that training is provided to as many people as possible. So we removed the limit on training and have introduced a Learning Management System free of charge to facilitate training right across your provision.
We do not charge anything for additional approval processes once you are a provider with us. If you already deliver vocational qualifications and wants to introduce Access to HE, there is no charge to complete the approval process. This is because we are able to use all the existing intelligence we have from working with you to support the approval process.
We keep additional costs to an absolute minimum. If it doesn’t cost us anything to do, we don’t charge for it. It it does cost us something to do, we weigh up the longer-term benefit in doing it without a charge.
Some of the things we actively choose not to charge for include:
- Being approved for additional qualifications or courses
- Developing new Access to HE Diplomas
- Making minor changes to Access to HE courses
- Revalidating Access to HE Diplomas or programmes
- Development of vocational qualifications where there is a clear business case
- Providing paper-based certificates alongside e-certificates
- Credit transfers or Recognition of Prior Learning
- Withdrawing learners
Where we need to charge additional costs, these are all published on our website and communicated to providers in advance. In many cases, additional costs are reviewed internally at Open Awards before being applied to ensure they are fair and the provider is aware of their application. Examples of where we have to charge additional fees include:
- No notice cancellation of a scheduled assessment (including EPA) being delivered directly by Open Awards where invigilators or assessors have already committed and it cannot be rearranged
- Certificate reissues where the original has been misplaced
- Postage of paper-based exam papers in line with the published surcharge)
We do not budget for late charges and administrative fees; we aim for no learners being registered late! Our Customer Support teams have a unique focus on improving our procedures, guidance and training to ensure that our providers don’t incur late charges and don’t make chargeable errors.
There really are no secrets – everything can be found on our website here and we have tried to make it as simple as possible to navigate the costs for our different products across vocational qualifications and units, Access to HE Diplomas, Badge of Excellence accreditation, and End-point Assessment services. The team at Open Awards are always happy to talk about our pricing model and to explain how we have calculated the cost of each service we provide. Always Open.