Articles from Office for Students (OfS)

American style contextual admissions needed to recognise the potential of disadvantaged students

Radical changes needed to ensure university admissions identify potential, not just exam results.

Spurgeon's College registration approved by OfS

Tthe OfS has today announced it has approved Spurgeon’s College’s registration application as an English higher education provider, after originally turning down their application earlier this year.

Response to disruption caused by industrial action

The University and College Union has announced the results of its recent ballot over the ongoing pension dispute and proposed pay settlement. Branches at 39 English higher education providers have reached the 50 per cent turnout threshold and voted in favour of industrial action.

Sustained collaborative engagement with young people boosts their confidence to progress to higher education

An independent evaluation of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) – funded by the Office for Students (OfS) – has found encouraging signs that, after two years of operation, the 29 partnerships have made good progress in challenging misconceptions about higher education and developing greater self-belief in young people from areas where fewer people go to university. NCOP aims to rapidly increase the number of young people from underrepresented groups who go into higher education by providing long-term outreach activity in 997 target areas across England where higher education participation is lower than would be expected given the GCSE results of young people in the area.

Office for Students publishes value for money strategy

The Office for Students (OfS) has today published its value for money strategy for 2019 to 2021. The strategy sets out how the OfS will ensure higher education providers deliver value for money for both students and taxpayers. According to a 2018 survey commissioned by the OfS, just 38 per cent of students believe their course offers good value for money.

New guidance published for registered higher education providers

The guidance sets out in more detail how the OfS will regulate providers, building upon the OfS’s regulatory framework which sets out the conditions of registration all providers must meet. Two documents have been published:

New plans demonstrate greater ambition in tackling equality gaps

68 access and participation plans have been published today. These plans set out what higher education providers commit to do to ensure that students from all backgrounds can get in to university and succeed while there and after they leave. Providers in this group generally have higher numbers of students from underrepresented backgrounds getting in, so these plans focus more on measures to ensure that all students have the support they need to stay on course, get good grades and progress into graduate jobs.

Office for Students publishes data on changes in healthcare student numbers

From 2017, funding reforms to pre-registration healthcare university courses meant that students could access loans to cover tuition fees and living costs rather than non-repayable bursaries and gave universities more flexibility in the provision of healthcare courses. Data published by the Office for Students (OfS) today shows the short-term changes in recruitment following these reforms.

Students at the heart of our work

A new survey is seeking views on how the OfS should engage and involve students in its work to regulate English higher education. The survey – which will run until Friday 13 September – is open to anyone with an interest in higher education, including students, recent graduates, sabbatical officers and staff working in higher education providers, students’ unions or schools.

New team to help outreach partnerships find out what works

The team – a partnership between researchers at the University of Exeter, the Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Unit at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Oxford and the Brightside Trust – will support partnerships of universities, colleges and other local organisations funded by the OfS through the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) to more effectively evaluate their efforts. The team will also draw on the skills and experience of the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO), an independent ‘what works’ centre funded by the OfS.

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