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Higher Education: Disadvantaged

Question for Department for Education

UIN 206253, tabled on 8 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to page five of the Office for Students' 13 December 2018 document entitled A new approach to regulating access and participation in English higher education: Consultation outcomes, and the announcement that colleges and universities will no longer be required to spend a set amount of tuition fee income to support disadvantaged students, what metrics will be used to measure the outcomes that providers achieve and the level of ambition they set.

Answered on

11 January 2019

The government has asked the Office for Students (OfS) to secure greater and faster progress in ensuring that students from disadvantaged and under-represented groups, can access and successfully participate in higher education. The reforms to access and participation are designed to help achieve this.

Arrangements for improving access and participation have never required higher education providers to spend a minimum amount through their access and participation plans. Rather, guidelines are in place to set out the expected levels of expenditure for different types of higher education providers.

The new approach being introduced by the OfS is designed to provide a greater focus on securing improved access and successful participation outcomes. As part of their access and participation plans, higher education providers will be encouraged to be more ambitious and set strategic outcomes based targets based on the areas and groups of students where they have most to do. Investment levels and a provider’s evaluation plans will be important issues that the OfS will also want to consider when agreeing a provider’s access and participation plan.

The OfS intends to assess the progress through annual impact reports and action plans which providers will be expected to submit to the OfS.

Named day
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