As of 9am today (20 April), 139 institutions (122 higher education institutions and 17 further education colleges) have submitted access agreements for 2012-13 to the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). One additional higher education institution has been given an extended deadline, due to the very high proportion of its courses that are part-time. 1
For agreements submitted by yesterday’s deadline, we will issue all approvals at the same time. We aim to do this by Monday 11 July. We do not plan to provide any further comment on submissions before this date.
Please see below for a few explanatory notes on yesterday’s deadline for submitting 2012-13 access agreements to OFFA:
- yesterday (23.59 hrs Tuesday 19 April) was the deadline for universities and colleges wanting to charge fees of more than £6,000 in 2012-13 to submit their access agreements to us. Institutions can still submit an access agreement to us after this time but late submissions may result in a late decision by us
- access agreements set out the fees an institution wishes to charge and the access measures they will put in place to sustain or improve access and student retention. Access measures include outreach (e.g. summer schools, mentoring, after-school tuition and links with schools and colleges in disadvantaged areas) and financial support such as fee waivers, bursaries and scholarships
- we will now start the process of assessing access agreements to make sure that institutions’ access measures are satisfactory, the amounts they are investing are appropriate and their targets are suitably challenging and realistic
- if we are not happy with a draft access agreement, we will discuss our concerns with the university or college in question and give them the opportunity to make amendments or provide further evidence as to why we should approve their agreement
- there are 123 higher education institutions (HEIs) offering full-time undergraduate courses. There are 124 directly-funded further education colleges (FECs) but not all of these offer full-time undergraduate courses. For the academic year 2011-12 all HEIs and 66 FECs have submitted access agreements to us.
 Part-time courses are not yet under OFFA’s remit. The Government’s intention is to bring part-time students under our remit but this is subject to parliamentary approval.