What do we want to achieve?
Our ambition is that future generations should have equal opportunities to access and succeed in higher education, and to achieve successful and rewarding careers.
To make this sort of transformational change happen, we and the higher education sector need to be bold and ambitious.
To meet our ambitions we have reformed our approach to promote transformational change.
Targets to eliminate inequalities
We have set ambitious and long-term targets for the ourselves and the sector. These are to eliminate:
- the gap in entry rates at higher tariff providers between the most and least represented groups
- the gap in non-continuation between the most and least represented groups
- the gap in degree outcomes between white and black students
- the gap in degree outcomes between disabled and non-disabled students.
Read more about the challenge.
How we are going to achieve our targets
To eliminate these gaps we use a combination of our regulatory powers and support.
Access and participation dataset
We have published an access and participation dataset for each registered provider.
This reveals challenges across the student lifecycle at a sector-level and provider-level, and provides more transparency on how we assess performance.
Access and participation plans
Access and participation plans set out how higher education providers will improve equal opportunities for underrepresented groups.
Universities and colleges set their own targets working towards the OfS national targets and addressing areas where there are specific gaps in equality at opportunity in their own organisation.
The first plans will be in force from 2020-21.
Some universities and colleges receive more intensive monitoring by us if they present an area of risk. This is called enhanced monitoring and is tailored to the individual college or university.
All universities and colleges also need to submit and publish an impact report each year. This will focus on the outcomes they have achieved including progress towards their targets and commitments.
We want to support providers to make progress, especially in areas where progress will not be achieved by access and participation plans alone.
For example, we aim to support collaboration between universities, colleges and other organisations.
We also want to help providers achieve the commitments set out in their access and participation plans by sharing effective practice.
We will continue to support the Uni Connect programme for 2019-20 and 2020-21.
In the longer term, we want to sustain the programme's infrastructure, and align it with the work universities and colleges do through their access and participation plans.
Evidence and evaluation
We want to make sure that universities use evidence so that their activity is strategic and has the greatest impact.
We have introduced tougher requirements on evaluation, including a self-assessment as part of their access and participation plans.
Read more about our approach