The Office for Fair Access closed at the end of 31 March 2018 and responsibility for higher education access regulation transferred to the Office for Students

Consultation offers ‘a real opportunity to push forward a step change’

The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has today welcomed the Department for Education’s consultation on the proposed new regulatory framework for higher education.

The framework will underpin the formation and operations of the new Office for Students, which will take over OFFA’s duties of regulation of fair access to higher education from next year. [note 1]

Commenting, Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, said:

“I am very pleased to see the permeation of access and participation throughout the proposed regulatory framework, because this makes fair access integral to the Office for Students.

“I hope everyone responding to the consultation will consider how their responses take into account access and participation, across every aspect of the framework.

“This is a real opportunity to push forward a step change in fair access.

“The Office for Students must be a key driver of social mobility, with fair access and participation at the heart of its work, and working to keep the issue on the public agenda. If it is not, it will fail on access and participation, and fail students. 

“So it is vital that the final framework maintains the ambitions for access and participation that we see in the consultation draft.

“I encourage all with an interest in social mobility or fair access to higher education to respond to this consultation. That includes students, schools, businesses and many others as well as, of course, universities and colleges.”

The consultation is published by the Department for Education


For further information contact Sophie Mason (Communications Manager) at OFFA on 0117 931 7171 or email 


  1. The Office for Students (OFS) is a new public body that will combine the existing regulatory functions of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) with many of the current functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The OFS will take up these duties from April 2018, at which time OFFA and HEFCE will cease to operate.