“Working collaboratively we promote fair access to higher education in particular for low income and other under-represented groups.”
Who we are
The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) is an independent, non-departmental public body. Our role is to promote and safeguard fair access to higher education for lower income and other under-represented groups following the introduction of higher tuition fees in 2006-07.
What we do
We help safeguard fair access to higher education by approving and monitoring access agreements – documents in which universities and colleges set out their tuition fee limits and the access measures they intend to put in place e.g. financial support for students and outreach work such as summer schools.
All publicly funded universities and colleges in England must have an access agreement approved by us in order to be able to charge tuition fees above the basic level. We then monitor their progress in meeting their access agreement commitments on an annual basis. We also have a role in identifying and disseminating good practice and advice.
OFFA is led by the Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, Professor Les Ebdon CBE, who reports to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Minister of State for Universities and Science. There are currently 14 other OFFA staff.
The Director of Fair Access to Higher Education is a member of the Regulatory Partnership Group, which advises the Government and other national agencies on policy, strategic and operational issues arising from the development of the new funding and regulatory regime for higher education.