We have jointly taken this decision because of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ unexpected delay in sending HEFCE’s grant letter, and because we appreciate that institutions need to make progress with their access and student success plans, which must be approved by the Director of Fair Access to Higher Education. Separating our information requirements is the most pragmatic approach at this time.
OFFA will ask institutions wishing to charge home/EU students more than the basic fee to submit an access agreement for 2015-16 in late April/early May. OFFA is currently in discussion with sector bodies and will issue further strategic guidance as soon as possible in February.
These requirements and templates will be similar to those for 2014-15 agreements (see OFFA publication 2013/01, 'How to submit an access agreement for 2014-15', available at www.offa.org.uk). However, OFFA recognises that you will wish to make changes in your 2015-16 agreement to accommodate the ending of the National Scholarship Programme for undergraduates after 2014-15, which will mean more flexibility for many institutions to refocus spend on financial support towards access measures that have the greatest impact.
The Director of Fair Access to Higher Education will give universities and colleges his decisions on their 2015-16 access agreements by the end of July, so ensuring that 2015-16 applicants know the cost of individual courses including any institutional financial support available before they start to apply this autumn.
If you wish to discuss your access agreement with OFFA, contact your institution’s key policy adviser (see contact details at www.offa.org.uk/contact-us/institutional-contact-list). You can also call 0117 931 7171 or email email@example.com.
HEFCE will require a submission from all institutions that are in receipt of HEFCE Student Opportunity funding. Funding decisions for 2014-15 will be agreed by the HEFCE Board in the usual way at the end of February, and further guidance on HEFCE’s requirements will be issued as soon as possible thereafter. HEFCE is concerned to minimise any additional burden to institutions and will keep its information requirements as light touch as possible.
We recognise that institutions will wish to take time to consider their response to HEFCE and so the deadline for this submission will be July 2014.
HEFCE will keep you updated on these timings as they become clearer over the coming weeks.
To contact HEFCE please call 0117 931 7073 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.