What is an access agreement?
An access agreement sets out the fees a university intends to charge and how it intends to safeguard and promote fair access to Higher Education through its outreach work and financial support. This will include activities to support the recruitment and retention of under-represented groups at the university.
The access agreement must include information on:
- Fee limits
- The additional access and, where appropriate, student retention measures the University will put in place
- The estimated cost of these access and retention measures
- Targets and milestones
- How the University will inform students about bursaries and other financial support
- How the University will monitor the effectiveness of its access measures
The access agreement has to be renewed every year and is approved and monitored by The Office for Fair Access (OFFA).
OFFA is an independent, non-departmental public body which promotes and safeguards fair access to higher education for lower income and other under-represented groups. OFFA does this by approving and monitoring access. All publicly funded providers of higher education in England that wish to charge tuition fees above the basic level have to submit an access agreement to OFFA for approval.
Who has to have an access agreement?
From 2012-13, a university needs to have an OFFA-approved access agreement if it:
- provides full-time and/or part-time undergraduate higher education courses and/or those postgraduate courses, such as PGCEs, that are subject to regulated fees, and
- is directly funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) or the National College for Teaching and Leadership and
- wishes to charge home/EU students more than the basic fee levels (£6000) for full-time or part-time (more than 25 per cent of full-time) fee-regulated courses.
Copies of approved University of Worcester Access agreements can be found on the OFFA website.