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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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DRIVER is a partnership project between four colleges and four universities to address barriers to student success. Our focus is on the transition between colleges and universities where students from disadvantaged backgrounds (e.g. Black and Minority Ethnic (BME), commuter, mature and those from low socio-economic backgrounds) are highly represented yet less likely to achieve a good degree.

The colleges and universities will collectively create actions that will benefit all students and, in particular, address the intersectionality of factors affecting student success.

Importantly DRIVER will address the student as an individual, rather than someone who possesses certain demographic characteristics. Literature on the subject of differential degree outcomes highlights a critical tension i.e. institutions typically categorise students into groups rather than seeing them as individuals with a complex and often interrelated set of underlying factors which influence their engagement and attainment.

Through this project we wish to refocus the unit of analysis from ‘demographic groups’ to the ‘individual’ which, we believe, will address the cause of the differential observed rather than the symptoms.

Anticipating a multi-layered process of micro-adjustments within each institution, DRIVER will utilise learner analytics to inform learning conversations between staff and students which will encourage students to engage in support activities.

Crucially, the issues raised during these conversations will be noted and analysed to support institutional learning so that good practice and interventions are appropriately identified, resourced and then shared as good practice with other institutions nationally.


Catalyst funding 

Total project funding  £937,500
Project contact name  Professor Christine Broughan 
Project contact email
Project contact telephone  02476 652249 

See a complete list of all funded projects


Page last updated 21 August 2017