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Aimhigher is a national programme which aims to widen participation in higher education (HE) by raising the aspirations and developing the abilities of young people from under-represented communities. Overwhelmingly these are people from lower socio-economic groups and disadvantaged backgrounds. Aimhigher partnerships build cross-sector relationships which break down the barriers which institutions and systems can unwittingly create for learners.

Funded activities include summer schools to give school pupils a taste of university life, taster days, masterclasses, visits to HE providers and one-to-one mentoring programmes.

Aimhigher is our primary vehicle for collaborative work across the schools, further education and HE sectors. We work with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department of Health and the Learning and Skills Council to develop this programme over the longer term. Ministers announced in October 2007 that Aimhigher is to be funded until 2011. HEFCE has published guidance for Aimhigher partnerships (HEFCE 2008/05) which sets out the objectives, scope and structure of the 2008-11 programme.

Aimhigher Associates Scheme

The Aimhigher Associates Scheme aims to promote the progression of learners from state schools to the full range of HE provision on offer. The scheme has been developed through 18 pathfinder projects spanning 21 Aimhigher partnerships in 2008-09, prior to a national roll-out from 2009-10.

Under the scheme, undergraduates from a state school background provide support and encouragement to learners as they encounter the various transition milestones between year 9 and year 13 and they receive training to help them in this role.

Full guidance on the national scheme for Aimhigher partnerships is available in 'Aimhigher Associates scheme: guidance and planning for the national phase, 2009-2011' which includes an application form for Aimhigher partnerships that wish to submit plans against which allocated funds may be drawn down.

Aimhigher practitioner web-site

The Aimhigher practitioner web-site provides background information about Aimhigher, including details about the structure and management of the programme. In addition, it provides all the latest Aimhigher news and national resources for practitioners, together with details of national and area contacts and web-sites.

Aimhigher is supported by the widening participation co-ordination team Action on Access.

Aimhigher - information for students

Directgov's university and higher education pages are the new home for Aimhigher information on what university can do for you, getting into higher education, student life and more.

Aimhigher contacts at HEFCE

For more information contact Jenni Radley-Davies on 0117 931 7441, e-mail

Last updated 11 May 2009