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Widening participation strategic assessments/statements

Widening participation strategic assessments (WPSAs) and widening participation strategic statements (WPSSs) are documents that the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) requires from all the higher education institutions and further education colleges that it funds. They complement the access agreements you need to draw up with OFFA if you want to charge higher fees.

What are WPSAs?

WPSAs were written in 2009. They outlined each institution’s overarching commitment to widening participation, plus a strategic assessment of what the institution hoped to achieve over the following three years.

For more information on WPSAs, see HEFCE’s website, the original joint guidance (2009) published by HEFCE and OFFA, and HEFCE’s electronic publications 03/2009 and 10/2009.

What are WPSSs?

From 2012-13, HEFCE changed widening participation strategic assessments to widening participation strategic statements. The first WPSSs last for only one year and are thus referred to as ‘interim’ WPSSs. HEFCE is requesting updates to these from 2013.

For more information on widening participation strategic statements, see HEFCE’s website, HEFCE circular letter 11/2012, Interim widening participation strategic statements for 2012-13, and HEFCE’s strategic statement Q&As.

How OFFA and HEFCE are working together to reduce bureaucracy for you

We have a joint process for monitoring access agreements, widening participation strategic statements and the National Scholarship Programme.

Got a query about widening participation strategic statements?

Please contact Richard Smith at HEFCE (tel: 0117 931 7151, email: