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.