What’s the evidence on the impact of bursaries…

OFFA, the independent public body which promotes fair access to higher education, has launched a major research project to deepen understanding of the impact of bursaries across the student lifecycle. Here are details of the project in their latest press release:

OFFA is asking universities and colleges to share their own evidence about the impact of financial support on their undergraduate students via a call for evidence at www.offa.org.uk.

This new call for institutional level evidence follows OFFA’s publication earlier this year of analysis of the impact of bursaries under the pre-2012 system, which found no evidence that bursaries had a positive effect on whether students continued with their studies.

Under recent access agreements drawn up by institutions and approved by OFFA there has been a noticeable shift in spending towards a greater focus on outreach rather than financial support. However, universities and colleges still plan to give over £400 million of financial support to students under their 2015-16 access agreements.

Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, commented:

“If institutions are to spend effectively on fair access, then we need to improve the evidence on which they’re basing their decisions. This new research will deepen our understanding of the impact of bursaries, so helping us support institutions in their efforts to spend smartly.”


For further information, contact:

Zita Adamson (OFFA Communications Manager) on 0117 931 7272 or Sophie Mason (OFFA Communications and Press Adviser) on 0117 931 7204, or email press@offa.org.uk

Notes to editors

The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) is an independent, non-departmental public body established under the Higher Education Act 2004 to help promote and safeguard fair access to higher education for people from under-represented groups. All English universities and colleges must make plans to promote and sustain fair access, in order to charge higher fees. These plans will include outreach (e.g. summer schools, mentoring, after-school tuition, links with schools and colleges in disadvantaged areas), activities to improve retention and success, and financial support such as bursaries and scholarships. The plans must be agreed with OFFA, which then monitors their implementation. For more information see www.offa.org.uk ­­­­­­­­­­

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