How much should you invest?

You decide how much to invest through your access agreement. The amount you choose will depend on your access, student success and progression record, and the level of spending you feel is required to make progress towards your targets.

Guideline investment levels

There are broad guidelines for overall investment in the table below (these apply to full-time and part-time students).

These guidelines are not precise minimums or discrete levels of investment: rather, they show lower, middle and higher points on a continuum. So, for example, if you have only slightly below average proportions of students from under-represented groups, you might look to spend 27 per cent of your fee income.

Proportion of students from under-represented groups

Guidelines for spend (as a percentage of higher fee income above the basic fee)







Postgraduate ITT (any proportion*)


* By definition, postgraduate initial teacher training (ITT) trainees already have experience of higher education, and many postgraduate trainees will be entitled to training bursaries.

How we consider your proposed spend

We expect all institutions’ investment to reflect the evidence shown in their¬†assessment of your performance. For example, for HEIs:

If you propose to spend significantly below our guidelines, we will need to discuss your investment with you before we can approve your access agreement.

We will take a holistic view when considering your proposed spend, so there is no requirement to ring-fence set amounts for full-time higher education, part-time higher education, and postgraduate ITT. You simply need to consider your overall levels of spend.

Within these guidelines we expect you to budget for future levels of financial outlay on student support, and resource for access student success and progression activities, taking into account your record of access performance from monitoring evaluation data.

Any decrease in expenditure should be based on a strong performance record and an objective to deliver value for money. If you are proposing to make such a decrease, you should contact us before you submit your access agreement, setting out the rationale for your plans. We will consider the information you provide and advise you either to proceed with your plan or to maintain previously agreed expenditure.

Related guidance

Setting your access agreement strategy

What types of investment are ‘OFFA-countable’ access agreement expenditure?

What should you invest in?

Disaggregating your access, success and progression expenditure