Press release

Access funding and Student Opportunity Allocation vital says think-tank

04 Jun 2015

The university think-tank million+ has welcomed the publication of the Annual Report from the Office of Fair Access (OFFA). The report highlights the progress that universities in England made in supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the 2013-14 academic year.

Professor Michael Gunn, Chair of the university think-tank million+ and Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University, said:

“OFFA’s Director, Les Ebdon, has played an important role in encouraging universities to set their own targets to improve access and encourage success and has also ensured that there is an evidence base to underpin this work.”

“Going forward there is a real need for OFFA and universities to work together to address the attainment gap linked with disabled students but also some BAME students who enter university with the same grades as their white peers but do not achieve the same degree outcomes.”

“OFFA is also right to point out that universities do not just use funding from access agreements to support this work. The government’s role in providing support through the Student Opportunity Allocation fund is also crucial. This Allocation totalled £332 million and needs to be sustained in full in the future.”


Notes to editors:
1. For further information or to arrange an interview, contact Pam Tatlow on 0207 717 1655 / 07795 645241 or email
2. million+ is a leading university think-tank, working to solve the complex problems in higher education
3. The Annual report from OFFA for 2013-14 is available at
4. The Student Opportunity Allocation is provided by the Government to universities in England to recognise the additional costs of recruiting and supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds currently under-represented in higher education, widening access and improving provision for disabled students and improving the retention of students most at risk of not completing.