In September 2012, when new Student Regulations came into force, OCA introduced a 12 year time limit for completion of degrees, with a 4 year target at each level – see this WeAreOCA blog post from Gareth Dent. For students enrolled before 01/09/12, the 12 years began on that date, regardless of how much time had been spent on studies before then.
From questions directed my way late last year, it became clear that this was still causing concern, amongst what I expect is a relatively small number of pre-Sept2012 students, that the new time limits would prevent them from completing a degree with OCA. Even if the numbers are relatively small, the issue needed to be addressed, and I have sought clarification and reassurance from OCA.
The fundamental principle is that students enrolled before 1st September 2012 do have 12 years from that date to complete their degree, regardless of how much time they have already spent studying before. There are, of course, the issues around actual time limits for individual modules and the target four years per level; and that does potentially complicate individual circumstances. But, providing there is proper communication and discussion with tutors and OCA Head Office, the College is keen to try and accommodate individual issues and enable people to complete their studies successfully. That doesn’t mean it is OK to take more than four years to complete level 3 because you went off on a year-long holiday in the middle of your studies; that would be unacceptable! But the overall message is Talk to OCA and your tutor if you have any concerns.
Please, if there is anyone still worried about this, talk to OCA. If you still have concerns after that, feel free to discuss with your OCASA Representative, but I am confident that OCA is likely to be able to accommodate all reasonable requests for flexibility.
Hope that helps!