Tuition fees

For students enrolling for 2020/21 the tuition fees are £9,000 per year for both the First and Second Year. Tuition fees are due and payable at enrolment for each year, and you have two payment options:

1. To pay in full. You are entitled to a five per cent discount if full payment of that year’s fees is made prior to or at enrolment.

2. By three instalments. The £9,000 annual fee can be split evenly between the three terms. The LSA must receive the term’s first tuition fee instalment no later than the start date of that term. The terms will ordinarily start in September, January and April.

You are required to ensure that you have secured funds to pay your tuition fees at the point of enrolment. Students who anticipate difficulty in making tuition fee payments as outlined above should contact the school as soon as possible to discuss their financial position and options.

Student Finance Loans

Students at the LSA are eligible to apply for student finance for tuition fee loans and for a maintenance loan. You can do so here. Please note you must apply for an Undergraduate loan as the Professional Diploma in Designing Architecture is part of the five year ARB/RIBA recognised course in Architecture. For any questions regarding this please contact our Registrar Marilyn Dyer, marilyn@the-lsa.org. The government tuition fee loan is currently capped at £6,000. The government has established a new Office for Students, which the LSA is registered with.

Students whose domicile is Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are required to apply directly to the Scottish, Wales and Northern Ireland educational authorities.

Our online Admissions Handbook also has further information on how to pay tuition fees, guidance on additional costs and how to arrange a salary sacrifice on your work placement salary to reduce your tax contribution. For any further enquiries that aren’t covered in the handbook please email admissions@the-lsa.org.

STUDENT FINANCE FOR 2020/21

 In 2019/20 our tuition fees were £8,000 and from 2018/19 students were eligible to apply for £6,000 tuition fee loans and for a maintenance loan from the Student Loans Company, alongside their practice placement salary.

From 2020/21, the LSA is seeking to ensure that our students can borrow the full amount of their tuition fees. To do this, the LSA has submitted its application to the Office for Students to move to the Approved (Fee cap) category.

The school has a strong track record in achieving its milestones and is confident it will secure access to full tuition fee loans from 2020/21. In order to secure this access, our tuition fees will increase to £9,000 in 2020/21 to enable us to:

1. Invest in essential staff and infrastructure to meet the complex requirements of new regulation introduced by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017; and

2. Invest more money into widening access and participation so that we can deliver on our core mission.

 

At this stage, we cannot guarantee that we will secure access to full tuition fee loans, and should it be delayed, we will offer a £1,000 discount to all new students on their £9,000 annual tuition fees until access is secured (calculated on a per term basis). In other words, tuition fees will remain at the existing £8,000 level until you can borrow the full amount.

As part of our application to change categories, on 28 February we submitted a draft Access and Participation Plan 2020/21–2024/25 in which the LSA commits to doubling the number of students from neighbourhoods with the lowest participation in higher education and increasing the ethnic diversity of students by 50% over the next five years (categorised as BAME by the OfS).

Should we secure access to the higher loans from 2020/21 and our Access and Participation plan is approved, we will:

  • Introduce a £500 ‘study budget’ for each student in both years, which can be used to fund school-related costs, such as printing, making, and study trips.
  • Increase bursary and hardship fund support for students (see more details in Financial Support section)

As this year’s recruitment cycle progresses, our main priority is to ensure we support our selected candidates into enrolment in September 2020. We are committed to ensuring that you can make informed choices about where you study for your Part 2.

We are pressing ahead to improve the status quo by securing the best deal possible for you with the Student Loans Company for 2020/21. If at any point you need further clarification or want to talk through your personal circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact stephanie@the-lsa.org. We are here to help you!

 

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Students whose domicile is Scotland and Northern Ireland are required to apply directly to the Scottish and Northern Ireland educational authorities. In regards to Wales, an application to Student Finance Wales for consideration of course designation is in progress and the school is hopeful that designation will be forthcoming.

Bursaries and hardship funding for 2020/21

Should we secure access to the higher loans from 2020/21 and our Access and Participation plan is approved, we will extend our package of financial support to target students. A per-annum bursary of £1,500 will be available to students who are from Adult HE Quintiles 1 and 2 with a household income under £16,000 (to check your eligibility please email bursaries_scholarship_ committee@the-lsa.org). The following processes are also in place:

  • If demand exceeds the number of bursaries available, students will be prioritised on highest need based on actual level of household income.
  • We may also decide to utilise available money from the Hardship Fund (see below) to award additional bursaries, where deemed necessary.
  • Should demand be less than then number of bursaries available, any unallocated bursary funds can be reallocated into the Hardship Fund (see below).

We will provide significant additional funding as part of our Hardship Fund, to which students can apply for support (whether or not they have received a bursary). Hardship Fund allocations will be made on an individual basis, based on demonstrated financial need. These funds can supplement bursary allocations or provide financial support to students who do not meet the bursary criteria. Funds can be used to cover additional costs associated with an architecture course, such as model making and printing, to ensure successful participation in learning.

FAQs on student finance for 2020/21

Is access to the full £9,000 guaranteed for 2020/21?

No. The LSA is optimistic that it will secure full access by then, as we have successfully met all regulatory requirements since we opened in 2015. But the decision ultimately rests with the Office for Students, which is sadly outside our control. The LSA is fully committed to ensuring this access and will fully endeavour to satisfy the requirements of our regulator.


When will we find out what is happening with loans for 2020/21?

We will keep in close contact with you to ensure you have the most up-to-date information, and we will let you know quickly of all relevant updates from the OfS. We are committed to ensuring you have the right information so that you can make informed choices about the future of your education.

The Office for Students wrote to us on 2 March to “confirm that the OfS will prioritise [the LSA’s] application”. They wrote: “In view of Student Loans Company deadlines, final decisions on changes of registration category will need to be made by the OfS before 31 July 2020 in order for these to take effect from 1 August 2020.”

We hope to conclude this before 31 July and we will work closely with the OfS in the coming weeks to progress this application and seek to resolve this in the interests of our current and prospective students as quickly as possible.


What has prompted your changing approach to student finance?

Over the last five years, strong feedback from students and prospective candidates underlined the urgency for the LSA to enter the state system, so that they could borrow money for their tuition fees and maintenance loans as they would at a university. If our students have to self-fund their living costs, it limits the range of students we attract, making it impossible to achieve our mission to widen access to architectural education.

The cost of delivering the course has risen over that time as
we have continuously enhanced provision and the costs of higher education regulation, both direct and indirect, have also increased. Therefore, tuition fees have had to rise.

As we look to the next five years and consider how we can best widen access and participation, we have agreed as a Board and senior faculty to increase the tuition fees to the full amount that students can borrow, so that we have more to invest in widening access through new initiatives and financial support, such as giving students bursaries to fund the hidden costs of studying.

By increasing the tuition fees to market rate, we will be able to be much more proactive in ensuring we find and support the students who most need it.


What happened to the ‘cost-neutral’ model you opened with?

The LSA was founded in 2015 with a mission to widen access to architectural education. We launched with what we described as a ‘cost-neutral’ model, where student tuition fees were set at £6,000 per year and students earned a minimum of £12,000 in a 12-month 3-day/week work placement in First Year – so students earned the same amount in the First Year as both years’ tuition fees combined.

Our definition of ‘cost-neutral’ has evolved since then. Today, the course doesn’t set a minimum ‘cost-neutral’ education for all students but offers students the opportunity to balance tuition fees and earnings over the course of the two years. The programme is structured so that students can work for three months over summer and one day per week into Second Year’s first term, enabling higher potential earnings throughout the two-year programme above the mandatory placement (see below).

Top: The LSA works with our Practice Network to enable students to earn while they learn. In First Year, days students must undertake a 3-day/week integrated work placement, and spend 2-days/week at school. Additionally, the course is structured so that students have the option to work a further 2-days/week in the summer, and 1-day/week in the first two terms of Second Year.
Bottom: The baseline salary of £20,000/annum enables a student to earn £12,000 in their placement, and up to £16,000 if they work the additional optional days. Many are paid more, and if they earn an upper salary of £25,000/annum, they could earn up to £20,000 over the two-year programme (figures are indicative).

Why didn’t the LSA secure access to full tuition fee loans sooner?
We have been on the pathway to securing access for our students to higher tuition fee loans since our foundation year, and we are moving as fast along this route as the regulations have allowed.

When we opened in 2015, we needed three years’ audited accounts to apply for recognition from the Department of Education. We first secured access to £6,000 tuition fee loans for the academic year 2018/19, which was the first year for which we were eligible. We entered in the final year of the old system, which was abolished by the government prior to the creation of the Office for Students.

For 2019/20, we needed to apply to register with the OfS in
the new system, which we did successfully. For this year, it was theoretically possible that our students could gain access to loans for the full amount of their tuition fees by entering the Approved (Fee cap) category. However, the OfS guidance about our submission came at a very late stage, which compelled us to enter the register at the lower level.

For 2020/21, the Office for Students wrote to providers on 2 March 2020 to announce the process of how to change categories for the first time and gave a deadline of 24 March 2020 for applications. The LSA will meet this deadline.


What about staying outside of the Office for Student system and simply offering bursary support?

This is something that was considered, but it was immediately obvious that we could never fundraise for bursaries to the same amount that students could potentially borrow from the state. We simply saw no alternative to entering the state system.


Why raise the fees to £9,000 then give each student £500 study budget back? Why not just have lower fees?

Research has shown that fear of future debt is not an impediment for many students. However not having cash to hand during studies to fund costs of studying such as model-making and printing can be a huge impediment. This is our way to ensure a more level playing field to reduce barriers for success and continuation.


As the tuition fees are going up, will there be any additional resources available for students?

Yes. As we write above, should we gain access to the full tuition fee loans, we are introducing a £500 ‘study budget’ for every First Year and Second Year student to use towards their academic costs (Please note that this will only be introduced once we have access to the full tuition fee loans).

We anticipate that we will have more space and are looking at options on how we can achieve this. We are based at Mare Street and have a ground-floor studio facing onto the street, which is great for studio, seminars, talks and exhibitions. We are negotiating on a studio on the first floor within the same building which will increase the amount of space we have. We should be able to offer you more information as this progresses.

We are also very open to hearing your ideas on anything else that may be useful to support your studies, as we seek to get better each year, and we can only do this with your feedback.


Have salaries remained static in placements?

No. Since we opened, salaries for the work placements have also increased and in 2020/21 we are asking all work placement providers in our Practice Network to pay the London Living Wage of £10.75/hour, which equates to a minimum annual salary for three days per week of around £12,575. Students can (and often do) earn more than this over the course of the two years (see graphs below. Email stephanie@the-lsa.org for further information).

Arranging a salary sacrifice of your course fees with your practice

You may consider entering into a salary sacrifice with your practice in regard to your placement provider covering part of your tuition fees to the London School of Architecture. If this is correctly structured it will save you and the practice money but it is important that this is carefully structured to avoid any tax problems.

If you enter into a salary sacrifice your practice will meet part of the tuition fees to the London School of Architecture on your behalf. Your salary will be reduced by the agreed amount that your practice has met on your behalf. On this basis the tuition fees are paid out of gross salary so this creates a tax saving for you, but in addition you and they save National Insurance on the agreed sacrificed amount. This will only work if your contract of employment is revised to reflect that your earnings have been reduced by the amount of the salary sacrifice. In doing this it is imperative to ensure that this leaves you with earnings (after salary sacrifice) above the National Minimum Wage. It is also important that your payroll record reflects the salary sacrifice so the earnings are shown to be the revised sum (salary after salary sacrifice).

Once you enter into this arrangement it cannot be terminated for the 12-month period unless you experience a ‘lifestyle change’. While the tax legislation does not define a ‘lifestyle event’, this is considered by HMRC to include marriage, divorce, or an employee’s spouse or partner becoming redundant or pregnancy. It is sensible before accepting an event is a ‘lifestyle event’ that you get HMRC written acceptance.

If you would like to pursue a salary sacrifice arrangement, you should discuss it directly with your practice as soon as possible, as the practice would need to seek approval from HMRC. We can supplied your practice with extensive guidance on salary sacrifice, and sample letters and FAQs for each to amend to their needs. The practice is under no obligation to enter a salary sacrifice arrangement with you.

The above is subject to current UK legislation.