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Offa – Office for Fair Access by Les Ebdon (Fair Access to Higher Education)


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This presentation was given by Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education at the international seminar “Equity and quality on higher education: from the right of access to the challenge of graduation” on 17-18 June 2016 in Santiago, Chile.

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Offa – Office for Fair Access by Les Ebdon (Fair Access to Higher Education)

  1. 1. Professor Les Ebdon CBE Director of Fair Access to Higher Education Professor Les Ebdon CBE Director of Fair Access to Higher Education
  2. 2. English higher education – introducing student finance • Tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year • Fees are not payable up front – students receive Government loans to cover tuition and some living costs • Some students are also eligible for financial support offered by their institutions • Loans become repayable when a student starts earning over £21,000 a year • Students repay 9 per cent of salary over £21,000 • Loans are cancelled 30 years after students become eligible to repay.
  3. 3. OFFA’s role To promote and safeguard fair access to higher education for people from lower income backgrounds and other under-represented groups. The main way we do this is by approving and regulating access agreements.
  4. 4. 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 • people who have been in care • disabled people.
  5. 5. What is an access agreement? • All institutions charging higher fees must have an access agreement with OFFA. • The agreement sets out the fees the institution will charge and explains the activities and support universities and colleges will take to: • Raise aspirations and attainment among people from disadvantaged backgrounds and support them to apply to higher education • Support these students in their studies and as they prepare for life after graduation
  6. 6. What’s in an access agreement? • Data on fees and student numbers • What the institution plans to do to widen access and support disadvantaged students through their studies • Aims, targets and milestones – set by institutions and subject to my approval • Monitoring and evaluation arrangements • Student consultation • How information for prospective students will be communicated • Equality and diversity
  7. 7. Access agreement spend Source: OFFA Publication 2015/04 - Outcomes of access agreement monitoring for 2013-14.
  8. 8. Source: UCAS (End of cycle 2015, 18 year olds) Source: UCAS (End of cycle 2015, 18 year olds) Q5: Least disadvantaged; Q1: Most disadvantaged For 18 year olds from low participation neighbourhoods, the 2015 entry rate was 18.5%, compared with 17.8% in 2014, and 13.6% in 2009 Entry rate among the least disadvantaged 18 year olds was 2.4 times higher than that among the most disadvantaged (down from 3.7 in 2006). 0% 4% 8% 12% 16% 20% 2006 2009 2012 2015 EntryRate Entry rate among the most disadvantaged, 2006-2015 (POLAR 3, Quintile 1) 18.5% 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 2006 2009 2012 2015 Entryrateratio(Q5:Q1) Difference in entry rate between most and least disadvantaged groups Progress to date
  9. 9. Thanks for listening 0117 931 7171 Thanks for listening