In February 2022 we announced new priorities for access and participation.
As a result, all providers with an approved access and participation plan will need to submit a new plan in summer 2023 to cover the four-year period 2024-25 to 2027-28.
Therefore, if you submit a new 2023-24 to 2027-28 plan and it is approved by the OfS, this approval will only be for one academic year and you will need to resubmit a new plan in 2023 to cover the period of 2024-25 to 2027-28.
The page below provides further information should you still wish to submit a plan for 2023-24.
How to submit an access and participation plan
We have published guidance documents to help providers. These include:
- Access and participation plan guidance (Regulatory notice 1)
This sets out what must be included in an access and participation plan and details about how plans are assessed by the OfS.
- How to prepare your access and participation plan: Effective practice advice (Regulatory advice notice 6)
This guidance supports providers with how to write an access and participation plan and suggests effective practice to help providers achieve the ambitions set out in their plan. It includes:
- a template for producing an access and participation plan
- a checklist to show what to include in your plan
- a flowchart detailing the process for submission and assessment.
Providers will also need to submit two extra pieces of supporting evidence:
- fee information
- a targets and investment plan.
The templates for submitting this evidence are available from the OfS provider portal.
Please email [email protected] for further information and to receive these templates.
When to submit a plan
When to submit a plan for approval depends on:
- a provider's admissions cycle. You need to confirm tuition fees for students prior to them committing to undertake a course
- how long it takes the OfS to assess a plan (normally around 12 weeks)
- whether a new plan is required. Any university or college can choose to submit an access and participation plan, for example if you want to change your access and participation strategy.
The access and participation plan should relate to the students you will register and teach in the five academic years from the point at which the plan starts.
For plans covering the period 2023-24 to 2027-28, this will include any students studying between 1 August 2023 and 31 July 2028.
You can submit a plan at any time, but we encourage providers to submit 2023-24 to 2027-28 plans from Monday 16 May 2022. Assessments of submitted plans will unlikely begin prior to this date.
For providers which follow an August to July academic year, we advise the following submission dates.
Early UCAS submission (Tuesday 24 May 2022)
Providers should submit their plan by Tuesday 24 May 2022 if their students:
- have to apply for all, or some, of a provider’s courses starting in 2023-24 by the early UCAS deadline in October 2022
- apply directly to the provider in October 2022 (normally this applies to courses in medical, dentistry, veterinary or conservatoire).
Standard UCAS submission (Friday 1 July 2022)
Providers should submit their plan by Friday 1 July 2022 if:
- they do not have any courses with early application dates
- their students will apply for courses starting in 2023-24 by the standard UCAS deadline in January 2023
- their students apply directly to the provider in January 2023 or later.
Applying after these dates
The above dates are not absolute deadlines, they are guidelines only. If you apply after these dates we will still assess your plan, but it might mean that you will receive an approval or refusal decision at a later date.
The absolute deadline for submitting a 2023-24 to 2027-28 access and participation plan is 28 February 2023.
The later you submit your plan, the greater the risk that you will not comply with your provision of information responsibilities (see regulatory notice 1 for further guidance).