Offa access agreements

16 July 2015

Commenting on the 2016-17 access agreements, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group of Universities, said:

“Ensuring our doors are wide open to talented and able students from all backgrounds really matters to us. And real progress is being made to close the access gap.

“Young people from the most disadvantaged areas in 2014 were around 40 per cent more likely to enter a leading university than three years ago and more than a third of our students receive a bursary or scholarship. 

“In 2016-17 the 20 Russell Group universities in England will be spending £243 million from additional fee income alone on scholarships, fee waivers and bursaries and outreach activities aimed at the most disadvantaged - £9 million more than in 2015-16. 

“This spending is aimed at the most disadvantaged and includes outreach activities such as working with teachers and pupils and putting on summer schools. In addition they will use funds raised from other sources to provide important scholarships and bursaries not counted by OFFA.  

“Next year Russell Group universities will be spending an average of 32.6% of their additional fee income on widening participation measures - more than the 24.1% average across all other higher education institutions. 

“However we must not to lose sight of the bigger picture. Increased regulation of universities will not resolve the real, long-term challenges – namely underachievement at school and poor advice on the best choices of A-level subjects and university degree course.”

Notes to editors

  1. There are 20 Russell Group universities in England: University of Birmingham; University of Bristol; University of Cambridge; Durham University; University of Exeter; Imperial College London; King's College London; University of Leeds; University of Liverpool; London School of Economics & Political Science; University of Manchester; Newcastle University; University of Nottingham; University of Oxford; Queen Mary University of London; University of Sheffield; University of Southampton; University College London; University of Warwick; and University of York.
  2. Additional fee income refers to all fee income above the £6,000 per student basic fee for Home/European Union undergraduates.

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