The BBC is reporting that fair access watchdog Offa has said universities in England have agreed to take more students from disadvantaged homes…
Institutions have also agreed to spend £750m on outreach activities, bursaries and waiving fees for poorer youngsters.
Offa head Prof Les Ebdon said the new agreements with universities from 2016 would make a “lasting difference”.
The government wants to double the rates of the most disadvantaged youngsters entering university by 2020…
In its report, Offa said:
- 183 universities and colleges had submitted access agreements
- it had worked with 103 institutions to improve their agreements
- following this, 94 institutions made changes to their targets
- 28 had changed their level of predicted spend.
Prof Ebdon said universities and colleges were setting stretching and ambitious targets to attract disadvantaged students and support them through their studies.
“Our work with universities and colleges has really borne fruit over the last decade. There are now greater rates of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education than ever before – but we know that talent is still being lost…”
According to the report:
- nearly three-quarters of institutions have set targets to help poorer students stay on courses
- a third have adopted targets relating to disabled students
- and two-fifths have set targets around specific ethnic groups…
See more on this directly from OFFA at: Celebrating ten years of access agreements
There certainly seem to be some encouraging developments reported here in terms of access agreements although it will be interesting to see what impact the recent decision to scrap maintenance grants will have on participation rates.
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