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Colleges told to improve access for HE students by 2038

Office for Students tells colleges delivering HE courses to eliminate gaps in access

The Office for Students has told colleges delivering HE courses to eliminate gaps in access for HE students by 2038

Office for Students tells colleges delivering HE courses to eliminate gaps in access

Colleges that deliver higher education provision have been challenged to eliminate gaps in access and success rates between students from different backgrounds within 20 years.

Following a consultation, the Office for Students (OfS) has set a target to achieve equality of opportunity in HE.

The OfS now expects HE institutions – including universities and colleges – to set their own individual plans and targets to work towards during the next five years.

The targets aim to eliminate gaps in:

  • Entry rates at the most selective universities between the most- and least-represented groups.
  • Drop-out rates between the most- and least-represented groups.
  • Degree outcomes between white and black students.
  • Degree outcomes between disabled and non-disabled students.

'We will not hesitate to intervene'

Chris Millward, director for fair access and participation at the OfS, said the ambition was for future generations to have equal opportunities to access and success in higher education, and to then go on to successful and rewarding careers.

He added: “We will not hesitate to intervene where we see low ambition, slow progress or poor practice.

“The responses to our consultation showed that universities are supportive of the move to a regulatory system that will allow them to plan more strategically, deliver more targeted and sustained activity, and better demonstrate impact.

“Higher education should be an engine for social mobility and a gateway to a better life for those who undertake it. There has never been such a powerful combination of pressure on universities and support for their work to make sure that this becomes the case.”

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