17 Jul 2014
The university think-tank, million+ has welcomed the publication (17 July) of a joint report from HEFCE and OFFA, Outcomes of access agreement, widening participation strategic statement and National Scholarship Programme monitoring for 2012/13 which highlights the resources committed by universities in measures to widen access and improve success for students from under-represented groups.
The think-tank has called on the government to continue to fund the Student Opportunity Allocation, the importance of which is confirmed by HEFCE and OFFA, and said that the new Ministerial team at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) should withdraw plans to transfer the funding of HNC and HND qualifications to further education.
Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-Chancellor, Staffordshire University and Chair of the university think-tank million+, said:
“This report is a welcome reminder of the role that modern universities play in encouraging students from under represented backgrounds to apply to university and be successful in their studies.”
“Universities invest significant resources in this work but as HEFCE and OFFA highlight, government funding for the Student Opportunity Allocation is crucial and it must not be subject to further cuts in 2015-16.”
“HEFCE and OFFA also confirm the dramatic decline in part-time students and the number of those studying for higher education qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs following the introduction of the 2012 funding reforms. This is bad news for employers and for those who want to improve their qualifications and skills later in life.”
“The government is currently proposing to switch HNC and HND funding to Advanced Learner Loans in FE. This is likely to further damage the take-up of these qualifications and I hope that the new Ministerial team in BIS will think again about this plan.”
Notes to Editors
1. For further information or to arrange an interview, contact Alan Palmer, Head of Policy and Research, million+ on 020 7717 1657 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank. More information can be found at www.millionplus.ac.uk.
3. The Government is currently consulting on the transfer of Higher National Certificates and Diplomas from within the scope of higher education funding to Advanced Learning Loans. More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/sfa-24-advanced-learning-loans
4. The report will be available on 17 July at www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs or www.offa.org.uk/publications