Outreach activity ramped up at dawn of £9,000 fees

Les Ebdon claims fee level has not put off poor students as spending to attract them climbs and admissions rise

July 17, 2014

Universities spent an extra £44 million on recruiting students from poor families in the first year of £9,000 tuition fees, a study says.

According to a joint report by the Office for Fair Access and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, higher education institutions spent £141 million on summer schools, campus visits and other outreach activities in 2012-13, up from £97 million in 2011-12.

Overall, the sector spent £743 million on its efforts to attract and retain students from disadvantaged groups last year, according to the report, Outcomes of Access Agreement, Widening Participation Strategic Statement and National Scholarship Programme Monitoring for 2012-13, published on 17 July.

Of this cash, half of which came from Hefce and half from tuition fees and other sources, £425 million was used to support current students via the provision of extra academic and pastoral care. In addition, £464 million was spent by institutions on financial support for students using money from tuition fees, of which £369 million was awarded in bursaries, scholarships and in-kind support and £93.2 million in fee waivers. That was £78 million higher than in 2011-12, although £50 million of this came from the National Scholarship Programme, which has now been axed for undergraduates.

Overall, some 401,500 students from lower-income and under-represented groups received a financial award in 2012-13, which represents about 40 per cent of all students paying £6,000 a year or more for their degree programme.

Undergraduates who were on full state maintenance grants received £1,268 from universities in 2012-13 on average, compared with £915 in 2011-12, while those on partial grants pocketed £731, up from £631.

The report also says that 72 per cent of institutions had met or were on course to meet access targets.

Offa director Les Ebdon said that fees of £9,000 had not deterred applicants from low-income families, with admissions rising in 2012-13.

“There is even starting to be some improvement at the most selective universities, where participation gaps are stubbornly wide,” he said.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest