Open Foundation is a tertiary preparation program that provides a qualification which you can use to gain entry to university

Open Foundation

About Open Foundation

Open Foundation is a tertiary preparation program that has been offered by the University of Newcastle since 1974. It is offered at Newcastle campus (Callaghan), the Central Coast campus (Ourimbah) or Online. Open Foundation has two primary purposes:

  • it provides a qualification which you can use to gain entry to university, and
  • it helps you to develop the skills needed for successful study at a tertiary level.

Every year several hundred students complete the university pathway program and qualify for undergraduate admission.

Open Foundation is recognised as an entry qualification for many universities around Australia as well as for applicants to the NSW Police Force recruitment and training program.

What does it cost?

We want to give everyone the chance to succeed at university, regardless of their background or level of previous education. So there are no tuition fees for the Open Foundation program.

As there are no tuition fees, you will not be liable for the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) during Open Foundation study; however, you will be liable for HECS once you are enrolled in a university undergraduate degree.

There are some financial costs associated with studying Open Foundation that you should be aware of before you commence the program. Depending upon your circumstances you may be eligible for a student loan from the University to help with these expenses. The main costs are:

  • Purchasing textbooks. As with most university courses, you will need to purchase textbooks for your Open Foundation courses. Purchasing two sets of new textbooks can cost between $150 to $450. This cost is incurred during the first two weeks of your program if you are studying on campus; and prior to the start of your courses if you are studying Online.
  • Some courses, such as visual art and graphic design, may require you to purchase supplies, which can cost up to $150.

Other costs associated with Open Foundation and university study include:

  • transport and parking costs,
  • at-home internet, computer use and printing costs (computers, printers and internet access are also available 24/7 on campus),
  • arranging childcare, and
  • reducing work hours or taking time off work for study or exams when needed.

Students studying Open Foundation Online may also need to factor in travel and/or accommodation costs for attending formal exams each semester. We also offer online students the opportunity to attend on-campus classes twice each semester and, while optional, these classes are strongly recommended.

Time Commitments:

You should expect a workload of 15–20 hours per week from March to November in part-time and online Open Foundation, and 30–35 hours per week from July to November in Intensive Open Foundation. This will include tasks such as attending classes, reading, summarising and revising course materials, doing outside reading and research, and preparing for assignments and tests.

So it is important to ask yourself: will I have enough time in my life for study? To successfully complete Open Foundation you will need enough quality time in a quiet space to work on your course materials and assessment tasks each week.

40 Years of Open Foundation