A report by the Office for Fair Access shows that in 2010-11 English universities invested significantly more in outreach activities than in previous years
The latest annual monitoring report by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) shows that in 2010-11 English universities and colleges invested significantly more in outreach activities than in previous years. These schemes are designed to raise aspirations and attainment among people from lower-income backgrounds and other groups currently under-represented in higher education.
The report, a joint publication with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), shows that outreach expenditure on activities such as summer schools rose by 15% to £45.7 million, up from £39.6 million in 2009-10.
Sir Martin Harris, director of Fair Access to Higher Education, said: 'We are keen to see more investment in sustained, well-targeted outreach and so warmly welcome this increase in expenditure.'
OFFA's monitoring of 2010-11 access agreements also reveals new, more detailed information on the access progress made by individual universities. For the first time OFFA asked universities and colleges in England to grade their progress against each target they set themselves rather than grade their overall progress. It also asked them to provide data showing their progress against targets for each academic year since 2006-07, so illustrating the trend in their progress rather than just the change in an individual year. In addition, OFFA asked universities and colleges to provide a 'commentary' setting their access work in context, highlighting any particular challenges they had faced and, if they had not made as much progress as wished, explaining the reasons for this. Both the assessments and commentaries are published on the OFFA website.