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Frequently Asked Questions

Our Donor Charter can be found here.

Yes, it does. The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302). The Open University is also authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This means that, as a charity, the OU does not have any shareholders and all of our extra income after running costs is reinvested back into achieving our goals, from carrying out cutting-edge research to opening up learning for millions.


The Open University is also a recognised charity in North America, with a 501(c)(3) status.

Yes, like all major charities, The Open University undertakes a rigorous Due Diligence on all gifts over £10,000. It’s a standard process that takes a careful look at information on potential partners and donors; and considers many factors including potential risks that could result from any partnership. We do this to protect the integrity of our work and that of all our supporters. If you’d like more information on our Due Diligence process, please contact our Prospect Research Manager, Sarah Davidson – sarah.davidson@open.ac.uk

The Open University is funded through several sources:

  • Funding body grants, particularly from the Higher Education Funding Council, England (HEFCE)
  • Fee income
  • Research grants and contracts
  • Philanthropic support, endowment and investment
  • Other income

As our funding declines, we are increasingly grateful for the gifts and philanthropic support that enables us to continue to open up learning for millions.

By choosing Gift Aid, you will boost your current donation to The Open University and any other donations you have made in the past four years or make in the future. It’s easy to do - see our Gift Aid page.

To make a Gift Aid donation, you must be a UK taxpayer. We also need to let you know that, if you pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all your donations in the same tax year, it is your responsibility to pay any difference. If you pay income tax at the higher rate, you’ll need to include all your Gift Aid donations on your Self Assessment tax return if you want to receive the additional tax relief due to you.