OFFA was set up under the Higher Education Act 2004 to make sure that:
- the introduction of higher tuition fees in 2006-07 did not deter people from entering higher education for financial reasons
- universities and colleges were explicitly committed to increasing participation in higher education among under-represented groups.
Since then ministers have given us various guidance regarding how we should work within the higher education sector to safeguard fair access:
- original guidance letter from Secretary of State for Education and Skills (October 2004)
- guidance letter on minimum bursary requirements from Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property (July 2009)
- letter from Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, to OFFA and HEFCE on how institutions might combine their widening participation and fair access policies (May 2008)
- guidance from BIS Ministers asking us to focus more sharply on outcomes rather than inputs (February 2011)
- the 2011 higher education White Paper, Students at the Heart of the System (June 2011)
- a framework document between OFFA and BIS which sets out the management and financial framework in which we operate (May 2013)
- correspondence between BIS Ministers, OFFA and HEFCE on developing a national strategy for access and student success (2012 to 2013)
- guidance from BIS Ministers (February 2016).
Want to know more?
Find out more about the education reforms that led to OFFA’s creation – see the BIS website.