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Long-term investment by HEFCE in widening participation activity has yielded significant returns for individuals, the economy and society by delivering sustained improvements in both access to higher education and student retention. 


If you have questions or comments about this work, please contact Sarah Howls or Richard Smith.

Our extensive programme of sector analysis has been able to highlight the key areas where more needs to be done to secure successful outcomes.

This work includes:

Delivering opportunities and maximising success

In a new report we have set out the key policy and funding areas for the next five years.

It examines the track record of the sector to date in securing greater access to, and student success within, higher education.

But it also highlights the challenges that remain. Notably these include the differences in access from different geographic locations, and in outcomes between student groups.

There is also a challenge to provide robust evidence about the impact of different interventions.

Supporting reports

The report identifies how HEFCE will work with HE providers, students, other HE sector organisations and Government to address these challenges.

It draws heavily on five externally commissioned research reports.

The reports provide a detailed insight into the work that universities and colleges are conducting in this area and the different approaches they are taking.

They consider the key challenges institutions face such as:

  • securing further increases in higher education participation and continuation of study by students from diverse backgrounds
  • addressing differential degree attainment, and differential progression into postgraduate study and graduate jobs
  • assessing the impact of various interventions.

Read the reports

The five reports are:

Page last updated 22 July 2015