Help tackle inequality

We encourage all students to work with their university or college on their plans to address inequalities in higher education.

What’s the problem?

Going into higher education is not as equal and fair as it should be.

Some groups of students don't have the same opportunities. These groups include:

  • students from areas of low higher education participation, low household income, and/or socioeconomic status
  • black, Asian and minority ethnic students
  • mature students
  • disabled students
  • care experienced students.

‘Access and participation plans’

We want to eliminate these inequalities.

And, under law, if a university or college wants to charge its students around £6,000 in tuition fees, they must agree a plan with us to address them.

These ‘access and participation plans’ explain how they will help students from underrepresented groups to:

  • access university or college
  • have a good experience when they are there and get a good degree
  • progress onto further study or graduate employment.

To develop these plans universities and colleges should involve and listen to their students.

How to get involved

Students can get involved in several ways:

  1. Get in touch with student, university and college representatives who are responsible for access and participation.
  2. Take part in access and participation activities at your university and college, such as outreach projects with schools.
  3. Universities and colleges can submit one student submission alongside their access and participation plan. This is usually completed by student representatives, such as a student union.
  4. Look out for opportunities to get involved directly with the OfS on our get involved page and social media channels.

User testing opportunity

Universities and colleges will soon have to report on the progress they are making towards the commitments they've made in their access and participation plans.

They'll have to submit an impact report, and also have the option of providing a student submission - an independent report where students comment on their university or college's progress.

We'd like your help to test our impact report and student submission templates, to check they are fit for purpose and user friendly. 

You'll be asked to respond to an online survey, which should take about 30 minutes. It can be done at a time that suits you.

If you'd like to be involved in the testing or have any questions in the meantime, please contact [email protected].

Why get involved?

It’s pretty simple. It’s in your interest and the interest of other students.

Getting involved as a student can help make a positive difference to the experience you and others have of higher education.

By sharing your perspective, you will help your university and college build up a more diverse and inclusive picture of different student experiences.

Last updated 05 October 2020
05 October 2020
Details of user testing opportunity added

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