Universities and colleges spent £395 million on access measures in 2009/10

The latest monitoring report from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has revealed that English universities and colleges spent a quarter of their additional fee income on access programmes in 2009/10.

In its fourth monitoring report - the first OFFA has produced jointly with HEFCE - OFFA found that English universities and colleges spent £356 million (22.6 per cent of their higher fee income) on bursaries and scholarships for students from lower income and other under-represented groups. Over 402,000 such students received a bursary or scholarship in this period. A further £38 million (2.4 per cent of their higher fee income) was spent on additional outreach and widening participation activities, up from £37 million in 2008/09.

Sir Martin Harris, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, commented, "It's important to be aware that this is a retrospective report showing what happened in 2009-10 and should not be used to tell us what may happen as we move towards the significantly changed fees and funding regime from 2012-13. New access agreements are in place for 2012-13 and these show stretching targets and considerable increases in expenditure on both outreach and financial support as well as, for the first time, expenditure and commitments on improving retention and student success."

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said, "We are committed to ensuring that every student with the qualifications, potential and determination to succeed at a Russell Group university has the chance to do so. As this report on 2009-10 spending shows, English Russell Group universities are going way beyond OFFA's requirements and the sector average to provide very significant investment in bursaries, scholarships and outreach. Russell Group universities are the best for bursaries. Not only are our bursaries bigger, but our universities spend more in total than others."

Read OFFA's statement on the report

Read the Russell Group's response

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