University's Access Agreement approved by OFFA

The University has set challenging targets on fair access to higher education (HE) to help meet a Government ambition to double the rate of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering HE.

At Leeds we are determined to continue recruiting and retaining the brightest and best students.  Our Access Agreement sets out a range of measures to ensure that we make further and faster progress.

We will be investing more than £17 million per year in outreach, financial support and student success activities.

Progress to date against our targets

We have seen an increase in the recruitment of undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds year on year.  Between 2011-12 and 2014-15 the percentage of students registering at Leeds has grown from 18.4% to a projected 22%.

Our recruitment of mature students from low participation neighbourhoods has continued to increase between 2010/11 (13.3%) and 2013/14 (15.5%).

Student success and retention

The Access Agreement detailed our plans for the development of our Plus Programme.  This scheme has been designed to promote: retention, academic success and employability or further study of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

We continue to make progress in this area and the non-continuation of students from low socio-economic groups has dropped from 9.1% in 2010/11 to 5.8% in 2013/14.


In 2003 we introduced Access to Leeds, an alternative admissions scheme that allows us to identify applicants who have the potential to succeed at university but whose academic grades may not reflect their talents. Access to Leeds has grown from 135 registrations in 2003 to 609 in 2014.

We work with more than 70,000 young people to raise aspirations and achievement.  Each year, more than 1000 teachers or careers advisors learn about higher education through parents' sessions and conferences and seminars.

We are making excellent progress with fair access and our new targets reflect our appetite to go even further.

Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to higher Education, said: “The work and ambition universities and colleges have committed to today will transform lives. The outreach work universities have planned will open the door to higher education for people who might otherwise have thought it was not for them. The people that universities work with now will go on to be the doctors, business leaders and engineers of the future.”

Posted in: