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20 February 2012

HEFCE welcomes fair access appointment

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) welcomes the appointment of Professor Les Ebdon as Director of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). Professor Ebdon will succeed Sir Martin Harris.

HEFCE and OFFA already work closely and effectively together. We will build on this good track record to ensure that investment in widening participation and fair access is maximised in the interests of students and the wider public. We will continue to work with OFFA, with Government and with universities, colleges and students to implement the new framework for widening participation and fair access, and to monitor the impacts of the new funding arrangements for higher education.

Sir Alan Langlands, HEFCE's Chief Executive, said:

'Les Ebdon is a longstanding champion of widening participation who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the post.

'We look forward to working with him to implement the Government’s new framework for widening participation and fair access.

'Everyone with the potential to benefit from higher education should have the opportunity to do so. Widening participation is vital to creating a fairer society, improving social mobility and supporting economic growth.'


  1. The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) is an independent public body that helps safeguard and promote fair access to higher education. Further information is available on the OFFA web-site.
  2. HEFCE funds universities and colleges to promote widening access for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, support student retention and success, and improve provision for disabled students. In 2010-11 we allocated £368 million to institutions for these activities.
  3. HEFCE funds and manages the operation of the Government's National Scholarship Programme (NSP). The NSP will benefit students from disadvantaged backgrounds who enter higher education from September 2012.
  4. The Government's grant letter to HEFCE asks HEFCE and OFFA to work together to develop a shared strategy for promoting access and maximising the impact of the investment made by Government, HEFCE, and institutions.