GUILDFORD COLLEGE OF FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION ACCESS AGREEMENT

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1 GUILDFORD COLLEGE OF FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION ACCESS AGREEMENT Summary This Access Agreement sets out how Guildford College of Further and Higher Education plans to widen access to higher education for students from underrepresented groups and support students whilst on programme. The agreement has been developed in accordance with the College s Equality and Diversity Policy and Action Plan designed to meet the requirements of the Equality and Diversity Act Regular monitoring of the Access Agreement will be undertaken by the Higher Education Information, Marketing and Recruitment Group and the Higher Education Strategy and Management Group. Guildford College will spend 25% of the tuition fee income above the basic fee on Access Measures (Access and Success Fund). 1

2 Contents 1. Context Student profile Fees Assessment of Performance Targets and Milestones Access and Student Success Measures Monitoring and Evaluation Arrangements Student Consultation Equality and Diversity

3 1. Context Guildford College of Further and Higher Education is the largest general further education college in its region serving Surrey, North Hampshire and East Berkshire. It is based on three campuses: at Stoke Park (Guildford), Merrist Wood and Farnham College (currently without higher education provision). Guildford College was founded as a technical college in 1936 and has delivered vocationally orientated higher education (HE) programmes since the 1950s. The College s main prescribed higher education portfolio primarily serves the local area and a local demand for skills. Programme sectors such as land-based industries, though, recruit beyond the traditional catchment area to the wider region. The College firmly locates higher education, both prescribed and non-prescribed, at the core of its mission. It is inextricably linked and continuous with its other provision, namely further education, employer engagement and 6 th form studies. Higher education is central to the College s aim to widen participation and support local communities through enabling economic prosperity and social inclusion. This is reflected in the College mission to inspire and enable individuals, employers and the communities it serves to be successful by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their ambitions and aspire to new challenges. We are a diverse college that respects and celebrates differences in race, disability, gender, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, faith and religious beliefs, background or personal circumstance. We want everyone to feel valued and included in the college community and to achieve their full potential. Guildford College does not currently have an Access Agreement in place. The following Access Agreement sets out how the college intends to widen access to higher education and support student success from onwards. 2. Student profile In there were 395 full time and 122 part time prescribed HE students on direct and indirectly funded higher education programmes. The provision ranges from Higher National Certificates and Diplomas to foundation degrees, top up to honours degrees and one 3-year honours degree. The College is currently a Partner College of the University of Greenwich, an Associate College of Kingston University and an Associated Institution of the University of Surrey and London South Bank University. Of new entrants to the college in : 43% were 25 and over 11.8% were from ethnic minority groups 23% had a declared disability or identified learning support needs 15.1% were studying on a part time basis 3

4 3. Fees For 2016/17, we propose to charge differentiated fees for Higher National Certificate, Higher National Diploma, foundation degree and honours degree programmes with an upper limit of 7,500 for full time fees. Part-time students will be charged on a pro-rata basis with the maximum fee charged within a single academic year being 5,000. Fee details (full time, new enrolments): Programme/s Fee for new full-time enrolments Higher National Diplomas and Certificates Upper limit of 5250 FdSc Counselling 7,500 FdSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare FdSc Zoo Animal Management FdSc Companion Animal Management FdSc Animal Science BSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare FdA Early Childhood Studies, BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies FdA Golf Management BA (Hons) Equine Management BA (Hons) Golf Management BSc (Hons) Animal Management Mechanical Engineering 7,500 6,000 Information regarding fees will be made available to students through UCAS (full-time only), the College and/or partner website and the Key Information Set (KIS). The College will inform the student loans company to update their database. The College website will display fee information in a transparent and easily accessible form. All programmes to be charged above the basic fee are listed in the resource plan. 4

5 4. Assessment of Performance College performance in recruiting students from under-represented groups is as follows. Group Percentage of students from low participation neighbourhoods The percentage of higher education students from ethnic minority/non-white groups studying at the College Guildford College performance HESA data gathered using the POLAR3 method for 2010/11 identifies a total FEC average for full-time undergraduates of 12.1% (locational adjusted benchmark). In comparison, as of 2010/11, the percentage of students from low participation neighbourhoods at Guildford College was 10.9%. This did not take account of a large number of higher education programmes. Annual monitoring by the College using the POLAR3 method from onwards will produce more comprehensive data as all prescribed higher education students will be counted. As of 2014/15, 11.8% of the College s prescribed higher education student population were from an ethnic minority/non-white background. This compares favourably with the overall percentage within Surrey of 9.6% (2011 Census data) but is below the total college population of 14% (students on all programmes). The percentage of full time higher education students with a declared disability or identified learning support need studying at the College. The number of Guildford College level 3 students progressing on to Guildford College HE. Non-continuation following year of entry. As of 2014/15, 23% of the College s prescribed higher education student population had a declared disability or identified learning support need. The number of Guildford College students progressing from level 3 on to higher education is currently at 44. With no external benchmark, the College is to establish this as a baseline. The College s non-continuation rate following year of entry is currently at 11% ( HEIFES Return). This compares favourably with the benchmark for full-time first degree entrants registered at FECs of The overall success rate for higher education programmes over the previous three academic years has remained static at 70%, 71% and 70%. 1 1 Success rate: calculated by multiplying retention rates and achievement rates. Success measures the number of students who successfully completed their programme in relation to the original number enrolled. 5

6 The College s record in recruiting students from a widening participation background is largely positive as whilst it is below HESA benchmark for the percentage of students from low participation neighbourhoods, it compares favourably with external benchmarks for ethnicity and non-continuation. Performance in the context of the College s previous - and now expired - Access Agreement shows that it met/exceeded targets for: ethnicity, the number of students on Access to Higher Education courses, the proportion of disabled students on HE courses, the narrowing of the gap in success rates of male students compared with female students, the success rates of students from non-white backgrounds and the College continuation rate. Therefore, in the context of its current and previous performance, the number of programmes being charged above the basic fee, the OFFA countable income forecasted and the high number of wards within the Guildford area that are in quintiles 5 and 4, an expenditure of 25% of fee income above the basic fee is deemed as appropriate. The College will review this policy on an annual basis to ensure expenditure levels and the allocation of funds achieve the targets set out in section Targets and Milestones HE data comparable to the FEC sector is limited so the targets set within this Access Agreement take account of applicable benchmarks and College baselines. TARGETS 1. To increase the percentage of young full-time undergraduate entrants from low participation neighbourhoods to be in-line with the location adjusted benchmark of 12.1% (POLAR3 methodology, 2010/11 baseline of 10.9%) by 2019/ To ensure that the percentage of students from an ethnic minority/non-white background studying on a higher education programme is in line with the total Guildford College student population (2014/15 benchmark of 14%) by 2019/ To maintain the percentage of full time higher education students with a declared disability or identified learning support need studying at the College (2014/15 baseline of 23%). 4. To increase the number (headcount) of Guildford College level 3 students progressing on to Guildford College HE by 10 annually (2014/15 baseline of 44 students). 5. To increase the success rate for all prescribed higher education programmes to 75% (2014/15 baseline of 70%) by 2019/20 6

7 6. Access and Student Success Measures OVERVIEW OF EXPENDITURE The College has allocated the largest percentage of its Access and Success fund (55%) to bursaries primarily in order to increase the percentage of students from low participation neighbourhoods. The College s current performance is below benchmark and it believes that this financial support, coupled with increased outreach activities that focus on the funding of degree-level study, will help break down concerns amongst many potential students on the cost of pursuing an HE qualification. The decision to offer a bursary rather than a fee waiver is due to the College s experience with the National Scholarship Programme. The number of awards given during the life-time of the programme has been low, despite a number of promotional campaigns, and this has been attributed to the College s approach of using the NSP to offer fee waivers. A bursary has been identified as being more attractive to students from a widening participation background as it will offer immediate financial support for course materials, travel and other personal or financial matters which can have an impact on attendance, retention and achievement. The bursary will be promoted as a means by which a student can purchase essential texts or computing hardware and software. An allocation of 20% of the Access and Success Fund has been made to outreach (15%) and progression (5%) activities. This is to support the College s Marketing and School s liaison department and further improve the advice and guidance given to HE students wishing to progress on to postgraduate study or employment. The additional funding will support the cost of delivering additional events, increasing staffing at events, producing information for applicants and providing support in College for students applying for HE, further HE study and seeking employment. 25% of the Access and Success fund has been allocated to strategies to increase success in order to help students who encounter either personal circumstances or academic challenges to complete their programme. As a further education college, our HE offer targets students with a lower UCAS entry profile enabling a large number of people who are not able to study at a higher education institution achieve a degree-level qualification. This lower entry profile attracts a large number of students who experience academic challenges but do not qualify for a Disabled Students Allowance. By increasing the number of additional learning support hours available to HE students, the College anticipates that its success rate will increase. STRATEGIES TO INCREASE ACCESS AND PROGRESSION Bursaries In , the college will spend 55% of the Access and Success Fund on financial support in the form of three types of bursary awarded in the first year of a programme. The total number of bursaries awarded will be capped in accordance with the resource plan for

8 1. The college will provide a phased cash bursary of 750 for all full-time prescribed higher education students. To be eligible for the bursary, students must: a) Be on the first year of a foundation degree, honours degree, higher national certificate or higher national diploma programme b) Be in receipt of the maximum statutory maintenance grant (currently for students with a household income of 25,000 or less). c) Have not received the bursary before. 2. The college will provide a phased cash bursary of 750 for all part-time prescribed higher education students. To be eligible for the bursary, students must: a) Be on the first year of a foundation degree, honours degree, higher national certificate or higher national diploma programme. b) Be able to provide satisfactory evidence of family income under 25,000 c) Have not received the bursary before. 3. The college will provide a phased cash bursary of 750 for all prescribed higher education students progressing to full and part-time prescribed higher education from level 3 programmes at the College. To be eligible for the bursary, students must: a) Be on the first year of a foundation degree, higher national certificate or higher national diploma programme (full-time or part-time). b) Be in receipt of the statutory maintenance grant (full-time students) c) Be able to provide satisfactory evidence of family income under 42,620 (part-time students). d) Have not received the bursary before. The bursary will be awarded in 3 instalments at the beginning of each academic term and will be subject to sufficient attendance and academic progress on the part of the student. Outreach and Progression Activities In we plan to spend 20% of the Access and Success Fund on outreach (15%) and progression (5%). The activities will focus on the following groups: Disadvantaged socio-economic areas identified by POLAR3 methodology Special Learning Difficulty or Disability (SLDD) Internal level 3 students Looked-after by a local authority or care leavers No family history of HE (Parent/Guardian) Mature (aged 30 years old and over) and part-time learners Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities Traveller/ refugee communities Male 8

9 Indicative outreach activities: Work with further education students within the college at levels 1, 2 and 3 to provide progression options to higher education Internal Progression Event appropriate all levels re: all options Internal 1-1 support on HE research and UCAS applications Provision of information advice and guidance, with particular reference to financial support, through attendance at open evening events in local schools/colleges/ careers fairs Establishment of links with local primary schools to raise awareness and provide aspiration and attainment raising activities Establishment of a student ambassador scheme Indicative progression activities Internal 1-1 support on HE research including top-up/level 6 and postgraduate study Foundation degree to honours degree transitional summer schools Subscription to on-line resources/services that support graduate recruitment STRATEGIES TO INCREASE SUCCESS Success, as a total figure encompassing all prescribed higher education programmes at the College has remained largely and is currently at 70%. In , we plan to spend 25% of the Access and Success Fund to increase the success rate. Indicative activities: All applicants meeting the minimum entry criteria are interviewed to provide an opportunity to discuss the course and any individual support needs Dedicated HE Additional Learner Support( ALS) to be available from interview stage (if requested) to Induction and on programme Study Skills Sessions at Induction Additional Study Skills sessions as part of the tutorial timetable. Additional Learning Support for higher education students without a Disabled Students Allowance. Close monitoring of attendance patterns and follow up of unexplained absences by tutors and managers Availability of student mentors / Health and wellbeing advisors Student Counsellors Internal 1-1 support for students wishing to withdraw by Careers team Further development of the College intranet to support learning 9

10 7. Monitoring and Evaluation Arrangements Monitoring and evaluation will take place through the following mechanisms: 1. The annual higher education self-assessment report. 2. The Higher Education Strategy and Management Group 3. The Higher Education Information, Marketing and Recruitment Group 4. The College s Equality and Diversity Group These groups will review progress on the targets set within this Access Agreement and agree modifications to the resource plan and the College s approach to increase access and success. 8. Student Consultation Seventeen higher education students took part in a focus group regarding the College s Access Agreement. Students were consulted on all aspects of the plan including activities, targets, distribution of funds and the approach to awarding bursaries. Students agreed with the College s approach and contributed to the final determination of how the Access and Success fund should be divided. 9. Equality and Diversity The College has taken due regard of equality and diversity when formulating this Access Agreement. Targets are proportionate to the general college population and the Surrey area. Additional analysis will be conducted after one complete year of the Access Agreement being in place. In-year monitoring will be through the College s Equality and Diversity Forum where targets associated with the Access Agreement will be monitored and actioned appropriate. The College continues to set its fees and entry requirements to meet the widening participation agenda and facilitate access to degree-level study. 10

11 Table 7 - Targets and milestones Institution name: Guildford College Institution UKPRN: Table 7a - Statistical targets and milestones relating to your applicants, entrants or student body Reference number Please select target type from the drop-down menu Description (500 characters maximum) Is this a collaborative target? Baseline year Baseline data Yearly milestones (numeric where possible, however you may use text) Commentary on your milestones/targets or textual description where numerical description is not appropriate (500 characters maximum) T16a_01 HESA T1b - Low participation neighbourhoods (POLAR3) (Young, full-time, undergraduate entrants) To increase the percentage of young full-time undergraduate entrants from low participation neighbourhoods to be in-line with the location adjusted benchmark of 12.1% (POLAR3 methodology, baseline of 10.9%, 2010/11,) by 2019/20. No %. N/A 11% 11.5% 12% 12.1% T16a_02 Other statistic - Ethnicity (please give details in the next column) To ensure that the percentage of students from an ethnic minority/non-white background studying on a higher education programme is in line with the total Guildford College student population (2014/15 benchmark of 14%) by 2019/20. No % N/A 11% 12% 13% 14% T16a_03 Other statistic - Disabled (please give details in the next column) To maintain the percentage of full time higher education students with a declared disability or identified learning support need studying at the College (2014/15 baseline of 23%). No % N/A 23% 23% 23% 23% T16a_04 Other statistic - Applications (please give details in the next column) To increase the number (headcount) of Guildford College level 3 students progressing on to Guildford College HE by 10 annually (2014/15 baseline of 44 students). No N/A T16a_05 Other statistic - Completion/Non continuation (please give details in the next column) To increase the success rate for all prescribed higher education programmes to 75% (2014/15 baseline of 70%) by 2019/20 No % N/A 71% 73% 74% 75% Notes Alongside applicant and entrant targets, we encourage you to provide targets around outreach and student success work (including collaborative work where appropriate) or other initiatives to illustrate your progress towards increasing access, student success and progression. These should be measurable outcomes based targets and should focus on the number of beneficiaries reached by a particular activity/programme or the number of schools worked with, and what the outcomes were, rather than simply recording the nature/number of activities. Table 7b - Other milestones and targets. Reference Number Please select target type from the drop-down menu Description (500 characters maximum) Is this a collaborative target? Baseline year Baseline data Yearly milestones (numeric where possible, however you may use text) Commentary on your milestones/targets or textual description where numerical description is not appropriate (500 characters maximum) Optional commentary on milestones. This box is character-limited to 1000 characters; however, we are happy for you to upload additional supporting information as a separate Word/pdf document.

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