Open University Students Association

Open University Students Association

At a glance


  • Education

Other details

Organisation type: 
Geographical remit: 


The Open University Students Association is a company limited by guarantee (number 12031028) and a registered charity (number 1183837 and SC049546). We are a Students Union within the definition of the Education Act 1994. Our mission is to make a positive difference for all Open University students. Our student body is unlike any other, as shown by the following facts:

  • Over 170,000 total students, the largest University in the UK and one of the largest in Europe.
  • Majority of students are studying part-time and at distance across the 4 Nations of the UK and in continental Europe. There are OU students in 90% of UK postal districts.
  • Over 24,000 disabled students
  • 3 in 4 OU students are in work
  • Over 1,700 students are currently studying in prison and other secure environments
  • For most courses, no previous qualifications are required to study, removing some of the barriers to higher education.

Our charitable objects are the advancement of education of students of the Open University for the public benefit by:

  • defending the principles of equal opportunity and of open access to the University regardless of academic qualifications or financial circumstances;
  • promoting the interests and welfare of students at the Open University during their period of study and representing and supporting students;
  • being the recognised representative channel between students and the Open University and any other external bodies;
  • asserting that all students studying with the Open University have the right to have their views heard and acknowledged by the University;
  • providing social, cultural and recreational activities and forums for discussions and debate for the personal development of its students.

We operate through a democratic governance structure, which includes students elected by their fellow students in our key leadership roles. This includes our President and the Central Executive Committee of student representatives who shape the policy and activities of the Students Association. The Central Executive Committee members are the public face of the organisation, representing student interests.


We provide a number of services to our students, including:

  • Representing their voice inside the University and in the external world
  • Offering support, including a Nightline service for out-of-hours listening, peer support, grants for students in financial hardship and fostering support for key groups of students including our disabled students group.
  • Building an active┬ástudent community, to tackle isolation which is a key issue for part-time and distance learners. This includes organising meet-ups, supporting and growing societies, developing the online community and operating student radio, magazine and virtual Freshers Fairs.
  • Working in partnership with the Open University to improve and enhance the student experience and student success.
  • Providing a range of volunteering opportunities, with more than 400 active volunteers at present. We are proud holders of the Investing in Volunteers quality standard.
  • Carrying out research and consultations to better understand, represent and support our members.
  • And much, much more...

No current opportunities

Search for volunteer opportunities with other organisations.