Keele commitment to Widening Participation

image of girls studying
Posted on 12 May 2016

Keele University has welcomed the latest report from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Outcomes of access agreement monitoring for 2014-15, which is published today [Thursday 12 May].

The monitoring report shows that Keele invested £3.2 million in 2014-15 on access and student support services designed to help students from disadvantaged groups succeed in Higher Education.

At Keele, more than £2 million was spent on direct student financial support, including bursaries and scholarships, with around £500,000 going towards outreach activities designed to raise aspirations and support progression to Higher Education. Around £670,000 was spent helping students transition to university and supporting them throughout the course and onward into employment or further study.

Across the sector, the report shows that universities and colleges invested £725.4 million through their access agreements in 2014-15.

Commenting on the annual monitoring report, Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor at Keele University, said: "We welcome the report from HEFCE and OFFA and the recognition it gives to the work the University is undertaking towards widening access and participation in higher education. Recruiting and retaining students of high ability and potential from the broadest possible backgrounds is central to our strategic vision and we are justifiably proud of achievements to date. Despite our excellent track record in this area we are far from complacent and continue to develop our work to support students from under-represented groups through our access agreement.”

Commenting on the report, Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, said: “More young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are in higher education than ever before, and 2014-15 saw further excellent progress. This is testament to the hard work universities and colleges do to reach out and inspire talented people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We can see that institutions are making headway towards more ambitious targets, and that they’ve invested a significant proportion of their own higher fee income towards fair access activities.”

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 that wish to charge higher fees must make plans to promote and sustain fair access, including 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 are called access agreements and must be agreed with OFFA, which then monitors their implementation.

For more information about Keele’s access agreement, please see