Financial Support

2012 saw an increase in student fees in England. Consequently, OFFA (the Office for Fair Access) placed further requirements on institutions to provide financial support for the purposes of widening participation and improving retention. The issue confronting HEIs is thus how to ensure this support is used in the most effective ways – in both undergraduate and postgraduate settings.

We therefore offer services to develop and review your institution's financial support for students, drawing on empirical research in the following areas:

• Impact on widening access
• Impact on student engagement, belonging, retention and success
• Alternative models of financial support
• Student preferences

We can also assist in policy review processes, staff capacity building, and evaluation activities.

Relevant publications

Diamond, A., Bowes, L, Michael, A., Thomas, L, Porter, A. and Sheen, J. (2012) Formative Evaluation of the National Scholarship Programme

Bowes, L., Moreton, R., Thomas, L. and Porter, A. (2013) Formative Evaluation of the National Scholarship Programme – Year 1 Addendum to May 2012 Report. Bristol: HEFCE

Bowes, L., Thomas, L., Peck, L. and Nathwani, T. (2013) International Research on the Effectiveness of Widening Participation. Bristol: HEFCE and OFFA

Bowes, L., Moreton, R., Porter, A., Thomas, L. and Sheen, J. (forthcoming) Formative Evaluation of the National Scholarship Programme – Year 2. Bristol: HEFCE

McCulloch, A and Thomas, L (2013) ‘Widening Participation to Doctoral Study and Research Degrees: Towards a Research Agenda for an Emergent Policy Issue’, Higher Education Research and Development, Vol. 32, no. 2, pp214 – 227.

Relevant activities

Liz recently gave a key note address for Westminster Briefing, titled Targeting funds: gauging the cost-effectiveness of scholarships & bursaries.

Liz also continues to contribute to the formative evaluation of the National Scholarship Programme, which is in its third year. The evaluation now focuses on the effectiveness of financial aid in relation to widening participation and improving student retention and success.