New Guidelines Support Higher Education For All

Universities wanting to charge over £6,000 for their courses from 2012 will have to work much harder to recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds under new guidelines published today.

In a final Guidance Letter sent to the Office of Fair Access today Ministers asked its Director to be more challenging and demanding of universities seeking to charge higher fees.

The Government also announced details of the national scholarship programme that will provide students from disadvantaged backgrounds help with the cost of attending university.

Around 50,000 students a year could be awarded a scholarship from 2014. Scholarships will be worth at least £3,000 for individual students in tuition discounts and other benefits.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said: “Universities can and should do more to ensure fair access. Today we are setting out our expectations for the action needed to close the gap between aspiration and achievement.

“Social mobility in this country has stalled. It will only improve if we throw open the doors of universities, especially the most selective, to more bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We must ensure that our great universities – often the gateway to the professions – make active and measurable progress to widen participation and advance social mobility.”

In the Guidance Letter sent to the Director of Fair Access today Ministers set out how he should make his assessment of access agreements submitted by universities wishing to charge more than £6,000. The strengthened guidance requires the Director to be more challenging and demanding through the following measures:
  • Universities will have to show real measurable progress against benchmarks
  • They will also have to do more to reduce the number of students who drop out
  • The Director will require more investment in access measures from universities whose progress against agreed benchmarks is not sufficient; and University Access Agreements will be reviewed annually instead of the previous 5-year approval cycle.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

11 September 2008
Academic Standards Put At Risk By 'Meddling'
The vice-chancellor of Cambridge has said academic standards were being put at risk by "meddling", saying that universities existed to educate and lead research, not promote social justice.
24 September 2008
Top Universities To Announce Fair Access Initiative
Universities Secretary John Denham is to announce an initiative to ensure fair access for bright students to nine of the most selective Universities in England.
18 October 2005
Fee support for part-time students
Part-time students are to receive an increase in financial support under new plans announced by the government. Under the new plans, students studying at least 75% of a full-time course will be eligible to receive up to £1,125 – an increase from the previous maximum of £885.
18 September 2008
Calls For A National Bursary Scheme
Serious shortcomings in how bursaries are awarded to students from poorer backgrounds have been highlighted in a report by an independent think tank. The Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) believes a national bursary scheme should be established to ensure that all disadvantaged university students receive the financial help they need.
12 October 2010
Major Debt Ahead For Medical Students
Doctors’ leaders have warned ministers that increasing tuition fees could result in medical students facing a debt bill of potentially £100,000.