Improving access and outcomes in higher education (HE) for students from disadvantaged or under-represented groups is a priority for the government. Through the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, the government has introduced sweeping reforms to tackle equality of opportunity.
All HE providers in England that register with the Office for Students (OfS) who want to charge more than the basic annual amount for tuition (£6000+) (known as approved fee cap providers), must have an access and participation plan approved by the OfS. Through these plans providers set out what activities they intend to take to ensure students from disadvantaged backgrounds or under-represented groups — such as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students — can access, participate in, succeed in and progress from higher education. Guidance provided to the OfS, by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, identified ensuring BAME students can not only access, but succeed in higher education as a priority.
This year HE providers will, for the first time, be required to publish applications, offer, acceptance, dropout and attainment rates of students by ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background.