Articles from Office for Students (OfS)

OfS commissions new study on support for care experienced students

The Office for Students (@officestudents) has commissioned the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL) to undertake the first phase of a national study looking at how a consistent baseline offer of support could transform outcomes for care experienced students.   Studies show that barriers exist for this group at each stage of the student lifecycle, with non-continuation rates being particularly high – experimental data from the OfS shows that in 2017-18, the non-continuation rate for care experienced students was 5.6 percentage points higher than for students who had not been in care. Care leavers have also reported that academic pathways and support offers can be unclear, which may act as a deterrent to accessing higher education.

Grade inflation ‘remains a significant and pressing issue’ – new OfS analysis

Grade inflation ‘remains a significant and pressing issue’ – new OfS (@officestudents) analysis  

Regulator plans tougher minimum standards in higher education

A consultation launched by the Office for Students (@officestudents) today sets out initial proposals to raise the bar on quality and standards in higher education. The measures will help ensure that students from all backgrounds can access high quality courses which leave them well prepared for life after graduation.

Office for Students responds to Universities UK admissions review

Commenting on the recommendations from the Fair Admissions review published by @UniversitiesUK, Chris Millward (@Millward_Ch), Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students (@officestudents), said:

Online student mental health support extended through lockdown into 2021

The online platform, funded by the OfS (@officestudents) and HEFCW (@HEFCW) and developed by Student Minds (@StudentMindsOrg), is designed to respond to additional pressures caused by the pandemic. It was initially launched to run until the end of December 2020. Today, the programme has been extended to cover the academic year until June 2021. The extension will allow Student Minds to continue to respond to changes in demand as the pandemic continues, expand on the resources available, and provide support to students throughout the academic year.

Universities must keep students informed on teaching plans, says regulator

The Office for Students (OfS) has today written to universities and colleges to highlight the importance of communicating changes to how courses are taught during the lockdown amid concerns of inadequate information for students where tougher pandemic restrictions have been introduced.

Support for disadvantaged students crucial as selective university numbers rise

Analysis of UCAS (@ucas_online) data by the Office for Students (@officestudents) shows there was a 22 per cent increase in the number of students from the most underrepresented communities placed at high-tariff universities this year. This represents more than 1,000 extra students from some of the most disadvantaged parts of the country – the biggest increase in a single year for at least a decade.

Interim evaluation of access and participation reforms

The first of a two-part evaluation of the effectiveness of access and participation plan reform has been published today (23 Oct).

New fund to improve postgraduate research participation and access

These students are underrepresented in postgraduate research study – and new data published today by the OfS (@officestudents) shows there has been little change in recent years. Participation in PGR study at high-tariff universities and colleges (where most PGR study takes place) remains low; 17.1 per cent of PGR students in 2017-18 were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, a rise of just 1.4 percentage points compared to participation levels in 2010-11. Evidence suggests that a number of barriers and equality gaps at undergraduate level continue to negatively impact Black, Asian and minority ethnic students’ progression to PGR study. For example, OfS data shows a difference of 22.1 percentage points between the proportion of white and Black students getting a 1st or 2:1 in 2017-18, while only 4.7 per cent of PGR students entering in the same year were Black.

OfS seeks views on distributing funding for increased medical student numbers

The additional funding, made available by the Department for Education (@educationgovuk), follows the award of centre-assessed grades to this year’s A-level students and the cap on the number of places on medical and dental courses being temporarily lifted. Additional grant funding will be made available to support universities, colleges and other higher education providers who have since taken on more students studying high-cost subjects – for example, medicine, dentistry, healthcare courses and other laboratory-based subjects.

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