Uni Connect

Evaluating Uni Connect's impact

Uni Connect is being evaluated at a national level to assess how successfully the programme meets its aims, in addition to local partnership evaluation. 

We'll use evidence from the evaluation to understand:

  • whether Uni Connect is working
  • how well it's working
  • who it's working for.

We'll use this information to support our funding decisions and refine practice at a local level.

External national evaluation

We commissioned CFE Research to undertake an impact evaluation assessing the changes that have resulted from Uni Connect interventions.

This uses a range of quantitative, experimental methodologies and includes a review of the evidence from partnerships' local evaluations with reports at key points in the programme. 

Alongside this, we commissioned Ipsos to conduct a formative evaluation of Uni Connect, focused on understanding:

  • strategic outreach planning and delivery
  • scope for supporting pre-16 attainment in schools
  • impact of policy and funding changes
  • evaluation practice across the sector.

In May 2023, we refreshed the Uni Connect evidence bank. This is a database resource that details nearly all the evidence submissions CFE Research have accepted and reviewed over the last five Uni Connect evidence reviews, covering 314 sources of outreach evaluation evidence. 

Ipsos has also developed learning digests to ensure we make the most of the Uni Connect evaluation findings.

We are in the process of scoping our future approach to the national impact evaluation.

OfS national evaluation

We have undertaken:

  • quantitative analysis using national administrative datasets to assess the application outcomes of Key Stage 4 learners living in areas targeted by Uni Connect
  • ongoing monitoring and governance of partnerships, including account management and monitoring of annual financial returns and operating plans.

Partnership local evaluation

Partnerships are undertaking:

  • longitudinal tracking of Uni Connect target learners at local and national level to evaluate the impact of particular interventions
  • local evaluation of their activities.


We commissioned CFE Research and Public First to explore the benefits of collaborative access activities for higher education providers, wider stakeholders, and students.

The research considers current and potential barriers to collaboration. The findings draw on insights from existing research on collaborative access and interviews with a range of higher education stakeholders.

Evaluation and research reports

Last updated 15 May 2024
15 May 2024
Added link to OfS report on analysis of target areas, published in May 2024.
03 October 2023
Added link to evaluation report published in October 2023
18 May 2023
Added links to evaluation reports published in May 2023
26 September 2022
Added link to evaluation on Uni Connect programme’s impact on outcomes for learners
28 June 2022
Added link to Uni Connect national evaluation - updated analysis publication (May 2022)
10 March 2022
Added link to Uni Connect learning digests, the fourth independent review and the Uni Connect evidence bank
20 May 2021
Added links to evaluation reports published in May 2021
26 March 2021
Ipsos Mori survey and CFE learner survey results published
09 December 2020
Evaluation report date updated
29 January 2020
NCOP renamed to Uni Connect

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