Access, Participation and Success at the Open University

Widening access to, and enhancing success in, Higher Education (HE) is at the heart of The Open University's (OU's) mission and the five goals of the 2022-27 institutional strategy. We aim to support all students to reach their potential and fulfil their ambitions.

Access and Participation Plan

Visit this page for an overview of our Access and Participation Plan for England and for links to the pages of the OU in Wales, Scotland and Ireland

External Events and Publications

See details of our annual seminar series and biennial conference, and find out about our Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning Journal

Student Diversity and Inclusion

Read about the Open University's commitment to supporting marginalised and underrepresented students

Access, Participation and Success (APS) Facts and Figures

  • 71% of directly-registered OU students work full or part-time during their studies
  • 25% of OU UK undergraduates live in the 25% most deprived areas
  • 74% of OU undergraduates had no previous HE qualifications on entry

We are the largest provider of higher education for people with disabilities:

  • 37,078 students declaring a disability studied with us in 2021/22.

Our open admissions policy helps thousands of people to achieve their ambitions that they may not have had the opportunity to do elsewhere:

  • 33% of students had one A level or a lower qualification at entry

However, analysis of institutional data identifies discrepancies across the student lifecycle for students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds.  Our four-nation by design Access, Participation and Success (APS) Strategy, provides the strategic framework within which we work to address these issues.​

Please contact us for further information.