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Institutions having access agreements with the Office for Fair Access, or in receipt of the Student Opportunity allocation with more than 100 full-time equivalent HEFCE-funded students, must submit their monitoring returns by noon on Wednesday 18 January 2017.

What this document is about

1. This document sets out the information that the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) and Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) need from institutions for monitoring of access agreements and the Student Opportunity allocation (SOA).

2. Institutions that had an OFFA-approved access agreement and SOA in 2015-16 should follow all the guidance in this document about what to submit and how to do so. Institutions that did not have an access agreement but had an SOA and had more than 100 full-time equivalent directly HEFCE-funded student numbers need only submit some of this information. HEFCE will contact these institutions separately with detailed instructions.

Deadline for action

3. All monitoring returns must be submitted via the HEFCE extranet at by noon on Wednesday 18 January 2017.

Why do we ask you to do this?

4. There is a statutory requirement for institutions with access agreements to report to OFFA on the extent to which they have met the obligations set out in those agreements, and on the progress they have made against their milestones and targets.

5. For institutions in receipt of the SOA, it is a condition under the Memorandum of Assurance and Accountability between HEFCE and institutions, to submit a monitoring return so that we can ensure that the funds are accounted for and being used appropriately.

6. OFFA and HEFCE will use the information from the monitoring returns to conduct a sector-level analysis about the overall investment in widening participation activity, and how much of this was funded from your OFFA access agreement and how much from the HEFCE SOA in 2015-16. Setting out your total expenditure on access, student success, progression and hardship enables you to demonstrate the breadth of your work in these areas, and helps us to understand how your access agreement expenditure and SOA fit within your overall widening participation investment. The evidence submitted in this return supports our understanding of the impact of these investments.

Date: 3 November 2016

Ref: HEFCE 2016/33 and OFFA 2016/08

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

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Implementation of access agreements, widening participation, Heads of Finance

Enquiries should be directed to:

Access agreement extranet queries: Andrew Cook, Analyst, OFFA, tel 0117 931 7171, email

Student Opportunity extranet queries: Matt Brind, Analyst, HEFCE, OFFA, tel 0117 931 7278, email

Access agreements: Emma Douthwaite, Access Agreement Manager, OFFA, tel 0117 931 7171, email

Student Opportunity allocation: Anju Kataria, Higher Education Policy Adviser, HEFCE, tel 0117 931 7153 , email