Announcement on the student finance package for 2018-19 – implications for access agreements

Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

The government has announced that there will be no changes to the tuition fee caps for 2018-19.

The basic and higher fee caps will therefore remain at the levels set out for 2017-18.

What happens next?

In our strategic guidance we advised that we would be contacting you once the student finance package (including fee caps) had been announced for 2018-19 with information on how to reflect any student finance changes in your access agreement and resource plan.

As there have been no changes to the fee caps, the fees that have been approved in your 2018-19 access agreement, as well as all commitments and forecast levels of expenditure, are now final.

As a result of this announcement, we do not expect any institutions make changes to their approved 2018-19 access agreement.

OFFA will now publish, as we have done in previous years, institutional level data on minimum, maximum and average fee levels, in a revised version of its outcomes report.

Publishing information on fees and financial support

It is your responsibility to ensure you comply with OFFA’s guidance and CMA compliance advice. This includes a requirement to publish (not just in your access agreement) clear and accessible information for applicants and continuing students on the fees that you intend to charge and any financial support that you will offer, in time to inform potential students during the decision making process. For example, it is important that existing and prospective students are given accurate information about:

  • the total cost of tuition fees for the duration of their course. This should be provided for full-time and part-time UK/EU students and should include:
    • the level of tuition fees for the first year
    • how fees may change for future years and
    • how any such changes will be calculated
    • to which academic years and cohorts the fees apply.
  • the eligibility criteria and level of financial support you are offering full-time and part-time students in each year of their studies

You should review our guidance for institutions to ensure that your provision of information to students is appropriate.

We will be carrying out a follow-up review of institutions’ information on fees and financial support in November to ensure that institutions are complying with these requirements. For further information regarding the information you must provide to students via your website please see our web guidance.

Finally, we remind you that you are required under the Higher Education Act 2004 to publish your access agreement. As access agreements apply to students for the duration of their studies, you should maintain a published archive of all access agreements, not just your most recent one.

Further information

If you have a query about anything in this guidance note, please contact your institution’s policy adviser or call OFFA on 0117 931 7171.

Yours sincerely


Professor Les Ebdon CBE DL

Director of Fair Access to Higher Education