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As part of the Government’s National Scholarship Programme (NSP), HEFCE commissioned CFE consultants and the Widening Participation Centre at Edge Hill University to carry out an evaluation of the scheme from its formation in 2011-12 until the final year of the scheme in 2014-15.

This is the fourth and final report of the evaluation. The report summarises the outcomes of evaluation activity undertaken in 2014-15, the third and final year of the programme’s operation. It contains the results of surveys and interviews with participating institutions and student recipients, including longitudinal examination of NSP student cohorts and institutional case studies.

The purpose of this evaluation was to help HEFCE, other policymakers and participating institutions develop a fuller understanding of what works best and why in relation to the design and delivery of the NSP. The evaluation also offers cumulative insights into the impact and influence of the NSP and wider student finance, on student decision-making, participation, retention and progression among under-represented groups. The findings may offer insights which have resonance for other schemes of student support.

The evaluation commenced in 2011, as the scheme was being established, to provide an independent perspective on the development of the scheme and its implementation. The evaluation was conducted in a series of interlocking phases designed to capture longitudinal data from a range of stakeholders. The first-year report focused on the development of the scheme before implementation in 2011-12 and was published in May 2012 with an addendum and summary of year one in March 2013. The second-year report focused on the implementation of the NSP in its first year (2012-13) and was published in November 2013. The third report focused on the implementation of the NSP in its second year (2013-14) and was published in November 2014.

Date: 8 January 2016

Ref: Independent research