Long-term investment by HEFCE in widening participation activity has yielded significant returns for individuals, the economy and society by delivering sustained improvements in both access to higher education and student retention.
Our extensive programme of sector analysis has been able to highlight the key areas where more needs to be done to secure successful outcomes.
This work includes:
- the creation of maps showing areas where HE participation rates are lower or higher than we would expect given GCSE attainment in those areas
- analytical reports exposing the unexplained differences in attainment and progression outcomes for HE students from different groups
- a retention data tool which provides interactive charts allowing users to explore the non-continuation data by student characteristics and subject of study
Delivering opportunities and maximising success
In a new report we have set out the key policy and funding areas for the next five years.
It examines the track record of the sector to date in securing greater access to, and student success within, higher education.
But it also highlights the challenges that remain. Notably these include the differences in access from different geographic locations, and in outcomes between student groups.
There is also a challenge to provide robust evidence about the impact of different interventions.
Read the report
Key policy areas
Some of the key areas for 2015-2020 include:
The report identifies how HEFCE will work with HE providers, students, other HE sector organisations and Government to address these challenges.
It draws heavily on five externally commissioned research reports.
The reports provide a detailed insight into the work that universities and colleges are conducting in this area and the different approaches they are taking.
They consider the key challenges institutions face such as:
- securing further increases in higher education participation and continuation of study by students from diverse backgrounds
- addressing differential degree attainment, and differential progression into postgraduate study and graduate jobs
- assessing the impact of various interventions.
Read the reports
The five reports are:
- Causes of differences in student outcomes
Kings’ College London, University of Manchester and the ARC network, July 2015
- Support for higher education students with specific learning difficulties
York Consulting Ltd and University of Leeds, July 2015
- Understanding provision for students with mental health problems and intensive support needs
Institute of Employment Studies and University of Lancaster, July 2015
- Student opportunity outcomes framework research: in depth study
CFE Research, July 2015
- Student opportunity outcomes framework research: data return project
CFE Research, July 2015