Offa access agreements 2015-16

24 July 2014

Commenting on the 2015-16 access agreements published today by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group of Universities, said:

“Russell Group universities are keen to ensure that anyone with the qualifications, potential and determination to succeed has the opportunity to study at a leading university, irrespective of their background, and today’s publication of access agreements demonstrates the strength of their commitment. 

“In 2015-16 the 20 Russell Group universities in England will be spending £234 million from additional fee income alone on scholarships, fee waivers and bursaries aimed at the most disadvantaged, this also includes spending on outreach activities, including working with teachers and pupils in schools and putting on summer schools and access schemes. In addition they will spend large amounts of extra money, funded from other sources, on scholarships and bursaries or awarded to students not counted by OFFA.       

“This means that next year Russell Group universities be spending an average of 32.7% of their additional fee income on widening participation measures - more than the 25.8% average across all other higher education institutions. 

“However, we must not lose sight of the bigger picture – increased regulation of universities will not tackle the real issues. Progress continues to be limited by levels of achievement at school and a lack of advice on A-level subject choices.

“Russell Group universities will continue take a range of factors into account when deciding which students are offered a place. Candidates' academic success is considered in a broader context, and admissions tutors are skilled at assessing applicants individually and holistically to identify real talent and potential. The bottom line is we want to give places to the pupils with the qualifications, potential and determination to succeed but it is important to re-emphasise that admission to university should continue to be based on merit and fairness, with high academic standards maintained.”

Notes to Editors

  1. There are 20 Russell Group universities in England: University of Birmingham; University of Bristol; University of Cambridge; Durham University; University of Exeter; Imperial College London; King's College London; University of Leeds; University of Liverpool; London School of Economics & Political Science; University of Manchester; Newcastle University; University of Nottingham; University of Oxford; Queen Mary University of London; University of Sheffield; University of Southampton; University College London; University of Warwick; and University of York.
  2. Additional fee income refers to all fee income above the £6,000 per student basic fee for Home/European Union undergraduates.

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