The National University of Distance Education, known in Spanish as Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), is a distance learning and research university founded in 1972 and is the only university run by the central government of Spain. 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. The University awards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as non-degree qualifications such as diplomas and certificates, or continuing education units.UNED combines traditional onsite education with distance learning programs. With over 260,000 students, UNED is the largest university in Spain and the second largest in Europe.Origins and methodologyUNED 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. However, some special features of UNED make it different from most other Spanish universities: it is nationwide in scope, applies the most advanced teaching technologies and has a wide social influence with radio and TV programming.