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

What is 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.

A Pathway to University

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

Degrees at the University of Newcastle

If you complete the Open Foundation program you will not need to apply via UAC (Universities Admissions Centre) for entry into a degree at the University of Newcastle. You can apply directly through the University of Newcastle* (free of charge), and offers to degrees will be made before the end of December.

*A small number of degrees may require a UAC application due to additional admission requirements

Degrees at other Universities

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. We recommend you directly contact the University you wish to apply to to confirm that you can use Open Foundation as a qualification for entry. Applications to degrees at other Universities must be made via UAC for a fee. Offers to degree programs at other Universities will be made by UAC according to their schedule of key dates for offers.

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