Open University enters discussions

The Open University is on the hunt for its first public affairs agency as it attempts to boost its reputation in Westminster and Whitehall and raise its profile worldwide.

The distance-learning organisation is also eager to stress how it has changed in recent years to develop more interactive tuition facilities. It is understood that the university has approached around four PA consultancies to pitch for the contract.

Although the OU has traditionally attracted a relatively mature intake, the introduction of top-up fees has seen an increase in the number of students under the age of 25. It recently issued a document, ‘OU Futures', outlining how it plans to develop more international partnerships and online courses in a bid to extend its global reach.

The public affairs search is being overseen by OU director of comms Derek Prior, who could not be reached for comment as PRWeek went to press.

The university has around 180,000 students, 25,000 of whom reside outside the UK.

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