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How we fund widening participation

This page covers allocations made directly to higher education institutions and further education colleges. Details of allocations made to Aimhigher partnerships are available in our publication 'Guidance for Aimhigher partnerships' (HEFCE 2008/05).

We have allocated £141 million directly to institutions for widening participation in 2009-10 (HEFCE 2009/08). We have set aside a further £2 million, for allocation by July 2009, to allow for corrections by institutions to their underlying data.

Funding for widening participation is broken down into two sections.

1) Widening access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds

This allocation is intended to meet some of the additional costs incurred by institutions for outreach activity to raise aspirations and attainment among potential students from under-represented groups. The funding method for widening access applies a weight to undergraduate new entrants according to:

  • young HE participation by ward for full-time undergraduates under 21 on entry
  • or the proportion of 16-74 year olds with a HE qualification by ward for part-time and mature undergraduates.

A detailed description of the widening access allocation method is available.

2) Widening access and improving provision for disabled students

To calculate this allocation, we take into account the number of students at each institution in receipt of the disabled students' allowance (DSA). A description of the disability funding method is available.

Funding for improving retention is now part of the 'teaching enhancement and student success' allocation.

Provisional Widening participation allocations for 2009-10 (March 2009 announcement)

We have allocated the funding for widening participation as shown below. Note that we have set aside a further £2 million, for allocation by July 2009, to allow for corrections by institutions to their underlying data. This £2 million will be split across all funding elements of widening participation.

Funding element Full-time Part-time Total
Funding for widening access £61.4M £66.3M £127.7M
Funding for students with disabilities     £13.3M
Overall total £141.0M

The following download displays provisional widening participation allocations for 2009-10 broken down by institution and funding element.

Provisional 2009-10 WP allocations

WP Allocations 2009-10 - March announcement

[ Download WP Allocations 2009-10 - March announcement as MS Excel 49K ]

For more information contact your higher education policy adviser or Sarah Howls on 0117 931 7073, e-mail

Last updated 13 March 2009