UNED was founded in 1972 following the idea of the UK's Open University to provide quality higher and continuing education opportunities to all through a distance education system. It awards the same qualifications as other Spanish universities and has the same entry requirements. This implies that it is not "Open". Even though the study is at distance, admissions are as strict as for "onsite" education and exams are supervised as in the other Spanish universities.
UNED combines traditional onsite education with distance learning programs. It has headquarters in Madrid, Spain, with campuses in all Spanish autonomous communities. In addition, there are 14 study centres, and 3 exam points, in 13 countries in Europe, Americas and Africa.With over 260,000 students, UNED is the largest university in Spain and the second largest in Europe.