The Office for Fair Access has warmly received today’s figures showing that the provisional higher education initial participation rate (HEIPR) in 2008-09 was 45 per cent in 2008-09, up from 43 per cent in 2007-08.
Commenting on the announcement, Sir Martin Harris, Director of Fair Access said:
“I am delighted that the latest provisional initial participation rates for 17-30 year olds have shown this significant increase. These figures are consistent with recent analysis from HEFCE showing that young participation has increased significantly since the mid-2000s. What is encouraging is that the HEFCE analysis showed that this was also a period during which most of the additional entrants to higher education came from disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
“There is likely to be unprecedented high demand for places this year and universities will want to continue to ensure that this does not disproportionately affect applicants from disadvantaged students. The 20,000 new places for 2010-11 recently announced in the Budget will help to relieve some of this pressure and better allow the recent upward momentum of widening participation to continue.”
Notes to editors
 The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) is an independent, non departmental public body established under the Higher Education Act 2004 to help promote and safeguard fair access to higher education. Our main remit is to regulate the charging of higher tuition fees by English universities and colleges offering higher education courses.
 The HEIPR can be found at http://stats.berr.gov.uk/UKSA/he/sa20100331.htm
 The HEIPR is the national statistic that the Government uses to measure progress in participation in higher education. It roughly equates to the probability that a seventeen year old will participate in higher education by age thirty given the age specific participation rates.
 The HEFCE report, ‘Trends in young participation in higher education: core results for England’, was published in January 2010 and can be found at www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2010/10_03/