Open University

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The Open University
MottoLearn and Live
ChancellorBaroness Lane-Fox of Soho [1]
Vice-ChancellorMary Kellett (Acting)
Students168,215 [2]
Undergraduates156,975 [2]
Postgraduates11,240 [2]
Milton Keynes (main campus) & regional centres.[3]

The Open University (OU) is a distance learning and research university founded by Royal Charter in the United Kingdom.[2][4]

The university is funded by the British state, and by student fees and contract income. It has an open entry policy. This means that students' previous academic achievements are not taken into account for entry to most undergraduate courses. Most OU undergraduate students are based in the United Kingdom and study off-campus. Many of its courses (both undergraduate and postgraduate) can be studied off-campus anywhere in the world.[5]

There are a number of full-time postgraduate research students based on the 48 hectare university campus[6] where they use the OU facilities for research, as well as more than 1000 members of academic and research staff and over 2500 administrative, operational and support staff.[7]

The OU was established in 1969 and the first students enrolled in January 1971.[8] The University administration is based at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, but has regional centres in each of its thirteen regions around the United Kingdom. It also has offices and regional examination centres in most other European countries. The University awards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as non-degree qualifications such as diplomas and certificates, or continuing education units.

With more than 250,000 students enrolled, including around 32,000 aged under 25[9][10] and more than 50,000 overseas students,[2] it is the largest academic institution in the United Kingdom (and one of the largest in Europe) by student number. It is one of the world's largest universities. Since it was founded, more than 1.5 million students have studied its courses.[2]

The OU was rated top university in England and Wales for student satisfaction in 2005,[11] 2006,[12] second in 2007,[13] and top in 2012.[14] These were United Kingdom government national student satisfaction surveys. Out of 132 universities and colleges, the OU was ranked 43rd (second quartile) in the Times Higher Education Table of Excellence in 2008. It was rated highly in Design, Art History, English, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Computer Science, Development Studies, Social Policy and Social Work, and Sociology.[15] It was ranked overall as a nationally top forty, and globally top five hundred university by the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2011, as well as being ranked 247 for citations of its academics.[16]

The Open University is also one of only three United Kingdom higher education institutions to gain accreditation in the United States of America by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education,[17] an institutional accrediting agency, recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.[18]

Drastic drop in enrollments[change | change source]

The Open University enrollments for undergraduate courses have dropped from a peak in 2009/10 of 209,705 to the latest published figure of 121,395 in 2016/17.[19] According to The Guardian, this was caused mainly by the government. In 2012 it allowed fees for part-time degrees to rise to £6,750 per year, whilst severely limiting maintenance grants for students.[20] Part-time courses at traditional universities in the U.K. have also suffered a drop in enrollment.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Chancellor of The Open University". November 2014. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Table 1 All students by HE institution, level of study, mode of study and domicile 2012/13" (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  3. The Open University – Estates and Building Facilities
  4. Research at The Open University
  5. "Study at the OU: What you can study if you're resident outside the UK". Retrieved 22 September 2010.
  6. "The Open University – Milton Keynes Campus". Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  7. The Open University – life on campus
  8. "Brief history of the OU". Archived from the original on 2010-07-17. Retrieved 2006-10-08.
  9. Meet the students | 18 to 24, Open University, accessed 2011-05-06
  10. Students in Higher Education Institutions: Table 1 – All students by HE institution, level of study, mode of study and domicile 2009/10 Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine Higher Education Statistics Agency, accessed 2011-05-06
  11. "Students rate university courses". BBC News. 21 September 2005. Retrieved 2006-10-08.
  12. "Student satisfaction survey results". BBC News. 23 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-08.
  13. The Open University highly rated for student satisfaction
  14. "National Student Survey". HEFCE. 2013-03-22. Archived from the original on 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  15. Times Higher Education Table of Excellence Published 18 December 2008. Accessed November 24, 2011.
  16. The Open University Archived 2013-05-16 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 24 November 2011.
  17. "Open University : Database of Institutions Accredited". Middle States Commission on Higher Education, United States of America. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  18. USA Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  19. "HESA figures on website ten cent piece". Archived from the original on 2018-05-06. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  20. Fazackerley, Anna 2017. Part-time student numbers collapse by 56% in five years. [1]