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. If you already have an access and participation plan, we will write to you if you are required to submit a new plan.
The access and participation plan should relate to the students the higher education provider will register and teach in the five academic years from the point at which the plan starts.
For plans covering the period 2022-23 to 2026-27, this will include any students studying between 1 August 2022 and 31 July 2027.
English higher education providers can submit a plan at any time, but we encourage providers to submit 2022-23 to 2026-27 plans from Monday 17 May 2021. 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 (Monday 24 May 2021)
Providers should submit their plan by Friday 24 May if their students:
- have to apply for all, or some, of a provider’s courses starting in 2022-23 by the early UCAS deadline in October 2021
- apply directly to the provider in October 2021 (normally this applies to courses in medical, dentistry, veterinary or conservatoire).
For plans that are submitted by this date, that have not experienced any delays through the process, we will endeavour to communicate an approval decision and details of any ongoing conditions of registration or enhanced monitoring by Monday 16 August 2021.
Standard UCAS submission (Thursday 1 July 2021)
Providers should submit their plan by Thursday 1 July 2021 if:
- they do not have any courses with early application dates
- their students will apply for courses starting in 2022-23 by the standard UCAS deadline in January 2022
- their students apply directly to the provider in January 2022 or later.
For plans that are submitted by this date, that have not experienced any delays through the process, we will endeavour to communicate an approval decision and details of any ongoing conditions of registration or enhanced monitoring by Monday 27 September 2021.
These are not absolute deadlines, they are guidelines only. If providers apply after these dates we will still assess their plan, but it might mean the Director of Fair Access and Participation makes decisions at a later date in relation to how approvable the plan is.
The absolute deadline for submitting a 2022-23 to 2026-27 access and participation plan is 28 February 2022. 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).