Targeted investment and focus on retention are best routes to social mobility through higher education, says 1994 Group

The 1994 Group of research intensive universities has responded to the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) announcement of decisions on 2013-14 access agreements.


Alex Bols, 1994 Group Executive Director, said: 


“1994 Group institutions have once again proved ready to balance the need to set sensible fee levels with the goal of investing in measures to recruit talented students from all backgrounds. Our members have each worked with OFFA to agree a range of measures to meet stretching targets to widen participation.  The result of this is that 1994 Group universities have pledged to increase investment in fee waivers, bursaries and scholarships. Most importantly, 1994 Group institutions will continue to invest in targeted outreach work to support talented people from diverse backgrounds aspire to the best universities and get the grades needed to win places. Outreach work is the most effective way of ensuring that students aren’t put off going to university and that all with the potential to achieve in higher education take up the opportunity to do so.


“Getting a university place is just a start however, and true social mobility in higher education can only come by seeing a course through and graduating with a good degree. The fact that the higher education sector as a whole has committed to increasing investment in this area is very welcome news. One of the defining features of all 1994 Group universities is an outstanding student experience which makes sure all students feel valued members of their academic communities. This plays a large part in the success all our members enjoy in making sure that the vast majority of students who enrol on courses stay on them and go on to graduate. “





Media Contact:
Mark Fuller

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Notes to Editors:

1.   In December 2010 the 1994 Group published a report detailing how targeted outreach programmes can be the most effective means of widening participation in higher education. The report can be downloaded via:


2.   By 2016-17 1994 Group institutions are projected to invest 28% of additional fee income in widening participation measures:

·         £28,865m on bursaries and scholarships

·         £18,084m on fee waivers

·         £11,267m on financial support: student choice

·         £15,172m on outreach programmes

·         £10,638m on retention initiatives


3.    The 1994 Group represents the UK’s leading student-focused research-intensive universities. It was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching.


4.  10 of the top 30 universities in the Guardian University Guide 2013 league tables are 1994 Group members. 5 of the top 20 universities in the 2012 Sunday Times University League Table are 1994 Group members. 10 of the top 30 universities in the 2013 Complete University Guide are 1994 Group members. The University of Bath is the Sunday Times University of the year.

5. The 1994Group represents: University of Bath, Birkbeck University of London,  University of East Anglia, University of Essex,  Goldsmiths University of London, Institute of Education University of London, Royal Holloway University of London, Lancaster University, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, University of Reading, University of St Andrews, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of Surrey, University of Sussex.


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