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Executive summary


1. This document presents the outcomes from HEFCE’s monitoring of the Student Opportunity (SO) allocation and the National Scholarship Programme (NSP) for 2013-14.

Key points

2. HEFCE and the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) carried out joint monitoring of institutions’ widening participation (WP) activity expenditure in 2013-14. OFFA published its access agreements monitoring outcomes in early June 20151.

3. The outcomes of HEFCE’s SO allocation monitoring for 2013-14 are:

  1. Overall, the higher education sector has significantly raised its investment to widen access, support student success and progression from higher education of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The overall investment has risen from £743.0 million in 2012-13 to £802.6 million in 2013-14.
  2. In accounting for the funding sources used to support widening participation activity, institutions demonstrated that the HEFCE SO allocation is the single largest source of funding for investment in institutions’ strategic work across the student lifecycle.
  3. There is a rising trend in institutional investment in WP activity since 2010-11, an increase of £111.9 million compared to 2013-14.
  4. In 2013-14 the sector expenditure has supported activity across the student lifecycle: in outreach activity with an investment of £207.6 million; in academic and pastoral support for students while on a course with an investment of £514.4 million; and in support for students progressing from HE into employment or postgraduate study with an investment of £80.6 million.
  5. Total sector expenditure on supporting disabled students has increased from £51.7 million in 2012-13 to £59.1 million in 2013-14.
  6. Institutions with high average tariff scores2 use their OFFA countable fee income as the major source of funding towards their total WP activities. All other institutions such as specialist higher education institutions (HEIs), HEIs with medium and low average tariff scores and further education colleges (FECs) are more reliant on their SO allocation and other income as the main source of funding to support their total WP activities. These are the institutions that receive the majority of the HEFCE SO allocation which, as a volume driven allocation, reflects their success in widening access to students from more disadvantaged backgrounds and the additional cost of supporting them through to successful outcomes.

4. The outcomes of the NSP monitoring for 2013-14 are:

  1. A total of 226 institutions delivered NSP awards to the 2013-14 cohort.
  2. Overall, the sector delivered NSP awards over and above the minimum numbers required: 59,198 students from the 2013-14 cohort received an NSP award in 2013-14 (equating to a full-time equivalent of 55,793.70). This is 25,963 more than the minimum required number of students (33,235).
  3. A total of £192.1 million was allocated to students through the programme, of which £179.2 million was delivered to the 2013-14 entry cohort and £12.9 million to the 2012-13 cohort, who were in their second year of study.

Action required

5. This report is for information.


1 OFFA outcomes are published as ‘Outcomes of access agreement monitoring for 2013-14’ (June 2015/04).

2 For more information on terms used in this report, please see the glossary (Annex A).

Date: 25 June 2015

Ref: HEFCE 2015/09

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Implementation of widening participation including student success and progression, and the National Scholarship Programme; Heads of finance

Enquiries should be directed to:

Anju Kataria (tel 0117 931 7153, email for Student Opportunity allocation monitoring.

Kirsty Johnson (tel 0117 931 7443, email for National Scholarship Programme.