Presentation on theme: "Professor Les Ebdon CBE Director of Fair Access to Higher Education."— Presentation transcript:
Professor Les Ebdon CBE Director of Fair Access to Higher Education
About OFFA Our role: To promote and safeguard fair access to higher education for lower income and other under-represented groups following the introduction of higher tuition fees
What is fair access? Removing barriers Distribution across all universities and colleges Different institutions face different issues
Who are we talking about? OFFA’s remit is to safeguard access to education for ‘under-represented groups’. These are: people from lower-income backgrounds lower socio-economic groups students from neighbourhoods in which relatively few people enter higher education some ethnic groups or sub-groups people who have been in care disabled people.
OFFA’s evolving focus Greater challenge Greater support National strategy Emphasis on outcomes (access and retention/student success) Evaluation Outreach Student involvement Equality and diversity
Progress to date The sector as a whole has succeeded in widening participation since the mid-2000s.
In 2011-12, universities and colleges spent £444.1m on access measures – that’s 23.5 per cent of their income from higher fees More than 455,000 students from lower income and other under-represented groups received a bursary or scholarship in 2011-12 Impact of access agreements
Diverse higher education provision Small Traditional Conservatoires Business-engaged Research-focused Highly selective Further education colleges City Teacher training Post-1992 Large Modern Fee levels Campus Collegiate Postgraduate Distance learning Specialist Rural etc… Part-time Full-time
Diverse students = diverse issues
“The government also wants to support those wishing to study part-time in higher education, and mature students. We would like institutions to consider such students within their overall approach to access, and would like [OFFA] to take account of their efforts in considering their access agreements.” BIS guidance to OFFA, February 2011 Ministers’ guidance to OFFA
Why part-time students are important to OFFA Covered by access agreements from 2012-13 More likely than full-time students to: – come from low participation neighbourhoods – be over 21 – have caring/family responsibilities
Entry to part-time higher education courses (England) (Source: HEFCE publication 2013/03, Higher education in England: Impact of the 2012 reforms)
Mature students are more likely than younger students to: have non-traditional qualifications study part-time study locally have family or care responsibilities have disabilities be from black and minority ethnic backgrounds leave HE within a year of entering Sources: Never Too Late To Learn: Mature Students in Higher Education (Million+/NUS, 2012) and HEFCE publication 2013/07, Non-continuation rates at English HEIs: Trends for entrants 2005-06 to 2010-11
Financial concerns for mature students 69 per cent worry about financing their higher education study 63 per cent suffer financial hardship 27 per cent apply for discretionary funding 26 per cent have commercial debts 49 per cent receive institutional financial support e.g. bursaries. Source: Never Too Late To Learn: Mature Students in Higher Education (Million+/NUS, 2012)
Mature students: retention issues 34 per cent of mature students who consider suspending their studies… 22 per cent of mature students who leave their course altogether… … list financial problems among the top two reasons. Source: Never Too Late To Learn: Mature Students in Higher Education (Million+/NUS, 2012)
Mature students who non-complete are less likely to… have been offered study skills support feel involved in university or college life have been offered peer support have positive relationships with staff/students Source: Never Too Late To Learn: Mature Students in Higher Education (Million+/NUS, 2012)
Mature students: student success issues 83 per cent have trouble balancing study and other commitments 54 per cent find it challenging to pick up new study techniques or relearn them Source: Never Too Late To Learn: Mature Students in Higher Education (Million+/NUS, 2012)
OFFA guidance 2014-15: mature/part-time Consider different types of courses/flexible provision. Take a broad view of outreach to include potential mature learners as well as work with schools. Focus on part-time student retention and success. Evaluate outcomes and concentrate efforts/strategy on doing what works.
ACCESS TO HE DIPLOMA – KEY FACTS Diploma qualification, completed in a year or less Develops knowledge, skills and confidence. Important alternative route into higher education Diploma loan written off upon completion of HE course
ACCESS TO HE DIPLOMA – KEY FACTS 28,000 completions in 2011-12 73 per cent of students were women 11 per cent of students were disabled 22,000 students with diplomas went on to higher education in 2012-13
ACCESS TO HE DIPLOMA Entrance to diploma most likely among those from most deprived neighbourhoods Source: Access to Higher Education: Key statistics 2013
ACCESS TO HE DIPLOMA A popular choice for mature learners Source: Access to Higher Education: Key statistics 2013
ACCESS TO HE DIPLOMAS IN ACCESS AGREEMENTS North East Surrey College of Technology plan to recruit 10 per cent more students studying access diplomas The University of the West of England will track students studying access diplomas from pre-entry into university as part of their evaluative work Falmouth University coordinates regional events and networks, focusing work on specialist areas, including entry to access diplomas.