Toni Pearce has been elected 2013-14 National Union of Students president at the union's national conference at Sheffield City Hall.
The former Cornwall College president and current vice-president further education secured 424 votes (57.92 per cent) defeating the current vice-president union development Vicki Baars by 214 votes.
Pearce said: "I’m really proud to have been given the opportunity to build the student movement around a vision for public education, and to be leading NUS as we build towards the next general election.
"Between now and 2015 we need to hold a full and frank debate about what education means to society and to properly articulate the public value of education in communities up and down the country."
Pearce's priorities included linking college and university students’ unions together to fight for local wins in the upcoming general election in 2015, to campaign for a single central admissions system for all colleges and universities, and to increase efforts to organise and support students to run and win campaigns in their local areas.
More than 450 of NUS-affiliated students’ unions are in further education (FE) institutions and the majority of the students NUS represents are in FE.
Conservative Party-supporting candidate, Peter Smallwood, polled 91 votes with 7 votes to Re-open Nominations.
There were 733 ballot papers received, with 732 valid resulting in a quota of 366.
Sam Gaus, representing the Inanimate Carbon Rod, withdrew from the race after a rousing speech highlighting some of the systemtic problems within the organisation.
Pearce studied at Cornwall College before being elected to the college's students' union from 2009-11, advancing to NUS vice-president further education for two terms from 2011-13.
Toni Pearce - 424 votes
Vicki Baars - 210
Peter Smallwood - 91
Re-open nominations - 7
Spoiled ballots - 1