The University of Liverpool. Access Agreement - Entry

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1 The University of Liverpool Access Agreement - Entry Contacts for Enquiries: Claire Brown Director Student Recruitment and Admissions Office tel Paul Redmond Director- Employability and Educational Opportunities tel

2 Contents Introduction.5 The University of Liverpool Access Agreement Fees, Student Numbers and Fee Income Fees for new fee-regulated part-time entrants in Estimated number of entrants at each fee level Real term rises in the fee for onwards Access and Student Success Measures Assessment of Access and Retention Record Retention Student Success and Employability Balance of Expenditure Collaboration and the Student Lifecycle Diversity & Equality Setting the Strategic Approach to Access and Student Success Pre-16 Outreach: Target Audience: Ages Post -16 Outreach: Target Audience: Ages Liverpool Scholars Programme Realising Opportunities Target Schools Looked After Children and Care Leavers Mature Students Fair Access and Contextual Data Expenditure on Financial Support, Retention and Success Bursaries and Fee Discounts Targets and Milestones Monitoring and evaluation Equality and Diversity Provision of information to prospective students Consultation with Students (Statement from the Liverpool Guild of Students) Appendix 1: Summary of destinations of University of Liverpool RO students Appendix 2: Employability at the University of Liverpool analysed by National Statistics, Social and Economic Classification (NS SEC)

3 Appendix 3: Internal University of Liverpool Governance Structure for monitoring the Access Agreement Appendix 4 Widening Participation an Overview Appendix 5: Schools from which Scholars students were recruited ( ) Appendix 6: Targets and Milestones (see OFFA uploaded spreadsheets) 3

4 Tables and Figures Table 1 University of Liverpool fee structure, Table 2 University of Liverpool WP Rankings Table 3 University of Liverpool Retention Performance... 8 Table 4 Progression of students (Main campus only) Table 5 Numbers of Scholars students applying to higher education: by Faculty

5 Introduction We have a strong commitment to providing opportunities for talented students from all backgrounds and this is reflected in our excellent reputation for Widening Participation. We want to extend this commitment to new areas and reinforce our existing strengths. We will strive to become the acknowledged world leader and innovator of the Widening Participation agenda. University of Liverpool Strategic Plan Widening Participation is a key Strategic Aim at the University of Liverpool and the University s record in this area is exemplary. Last year, according to the Higher Education Statistic Agency (HESA), the University was one of just six Russell Group universities to exceed its Widening Participation benchmarks. In the English Russell Group, the University is currently ranked: 1 st for the recruitment of students from Low Participation Neighborhoods; 1 st for the recruitment of students from State Schools and Colleges; 2 nd for the proportion of students from low income households; 3 rd for the proportion of students recruited from Lower Socio-Economic Groups (NS-SEC 4-7). In drafting the University s Access Agreement, we have comprehensively reviewed our approach to Widening Participation and, in particular, our approach to evaluation and student success. Furthermore, since the publication of the Access Agreement, the University has established a new professional service department combining the Educational Opportunities Team with the University s Careers and Employability Service. Employability and Educational Opportunities (EEO) offers a focal point for ensuring that students from all social and economic backgrounds have access to a broad range of student success opportunities, including employer mentoring and graduate internships. The role of EEO in the development and delivery of the Access Agreement is described further below. The University of Liverpool Access Agreement This Access Agreement represents the University s overarching Widening Participation Strategy. Contained in the Agreement is a restating of the University s commitment to extending Widening Participation, an overview of the institution s performance against a range of WP indicators, and an ambitious list of future targets and milestones. Underpinning the Access Agreement is a direct collaboration between our three faculties and professional services departments (Employability and Educational Opportunities, Strategic Planning, Student Administration and Support and Student Recruitment and Admissions Office). Each faculty has a Widening Participation strategy and plan. 5

6 In particular, the Access Agreement has been developed around the strategic priorities identified by OFFA earlier this year. These are: A strategic, whole-institution approach A whole student lifecycle approach Smarter, evidence-based spend Strategically rebalancing Access Agreement expenditure to support access, student success and progression. Monitoring of the Access Agreement will be undertaken by the Access Agreement Strategy Group, which in turn will report to the Admissions and Widening Participation Committee. Each January, a detailed Monitoring Report is submitted to HEFCE and OFFA which provides a statistical update on the University s performance against its targets and milestones. 1. Fees, Student Numbers and Fee Income The average fee charged by the University in will be 8,754. When adjusted for all types of financial support, this figure stands at 8,072. The maximum fee charged will be 9,000. The University s fee structure for the academic year for new system students is as follows. Table 1 University of Liverpool fee structure, Programme Type First degree Foundation Year (of specified courses based at Carmel College, St Helens and Birkenhead 6 th Form College) Year in Industry Year Abroad Fee 9,000 p.a. 5,000 p.a. 1,800 p.a. 1,350 p.a. 1.1 Fees for new fee-regulated part-time entrants in For all eligible undergraduate programmes, students studying on a part-time basis will be charged pro-rata to the maximum allowable fee of 9,000. No part-time student will be charged more than 6,750 in an academic year, in line with the fees regulations. Financial support for these students will be available on a pro-rata basis Estimated number of entrants at each fee level The predicted numbers of entrants by fee level is presented in Table 1 of the OFFA spreadsheets Real term rises in the fee for onwards. We will apply annual increases in line with the amount set by the Government. 2. Access and Student Success Measures 2.1. Assessment of Access and Retention Record Table 2 provides a summary of the University s performance in terms of the recruitment of students from under-represented social and economic categories. 6

7 The University recruits a greater proportion of its students from Low Participation Neighborhoods and a higher proportion of students from state schools than any other English Russell Group university (HESA PI s Table 1a ). Students at Liverpool are also more likely to be from households with below-average incomes, where few if any relatives have ever attended higher education. Table 2 University of Liverpool WP Rankings Low Participation Neighborhoods (LPN) 2.Lower Socioeconomic Groups (NS- SEC 4-7) 3.State Schools and Colleges 4.Disabled Students Allowance 5.Low income Households University of Liverpool 9.6% 24.4% 87.3% 4.4% 27.4% English Russell Group 6.5% 19.7% 73.2% 5.3% 21.4% England 10.9% 32.8% 89.0% 6.7% 31.6% English Russell Group Ranking (numbers) English Russell Group Ranking (proportion) 3 rd 5 th 6 th 15 th 6 th 1 st 3 rd 1 st 15 th 2 nd Standard benchmark 8.0% 27.2% 84.3% 5.5% n/a Standard benchmark difference 1.6% -2.8% 3.0% -1.1% n/a In the past year, progress has continued to be made against the University s WP benchmarks. For example, for the academic session : Progression of students from Year 0 Health Sciences programme Target: 80%; achieved: 85.2%; Recruitment from state schools Target: 85.8%; achieved: 87.3%; Recruitment of students from Low Participation Neighborhoods: Target: 9.1%; achieved 9.6%. The University has generally under-performed against its benchmark for the recruitment of students who are in receipt of the Disabled Students Allowance. This issue has been commented on in previous reports to OFFA and plans have been developed to undertake a review of this during the current academic session. The implications of recent changes to the DSA have added a further level of uncertainty to this area of work and will require further analysis before the University can assess what level of additional service and resourcing will need to be implemented. It is also to be noted that the disability figures cited in the 2014 OFFA Monitoring Return are for all students enrolling at the University. If the target data were restricted to UK students, the numbers 1 Sources: 1, 2, 3: HESA PIs Table 1a, : Young FT first degree entrants. 4) HESA PI s Table 7, , FT first degree. 5) OFFA ( data) FT first degree non-sha. 7

8 recruited this year would exceed the baseline figure. Recruitment of UK students with disabilities in was 8.9%. 2.2 Retention The University s retention record is excellent and one of the best in the sector. We continue to exceed our benchmarks for the retention of All Students and Young Students and by Low Participation Neighborhoods (Table 3). Only in regards to mature students has the University not always met its benchmark an issue which, although it is not considered to be a significant variance by HEFCE, is currently being addressed by the Go Higher programme. Table 3 University of Liverpool Retention Performance Category 2009/ / / /13 ALL 3.8% 4.1% Liverpool 5.1% (5.2) 4.2% (5.2) (4.4) (4.2) Russell Group 4.2% 4.1% 3.6% 3.5% England 7.8% 8.4% 7.3% 6.6% Young Liverpool 4.1% (4.2) 3.4% (4.3) 3.6% (3.7) 3.4% (3.5) Russell Group 3.6% 3.5% 3.0% 2.8% England 6.4% 7.1% 6.2% 5.7% Mature Liverpool 11.2% (10.7) 9.6% (10.4) 5.3% (9.0) 9.4% (9.1) Russell Group 9.3% 9.5% 8.7% 8.5% England 12.9% 13.2% 11.5% 10.3% LPN (POLAR 3) Liverpool 6.3% (6.1) 5.6% (5.5) 5.0% (4.9) 4.5% (4.9) Russell Group 4.9% 5.3% 5.0% 4.6% England 8.6% 9.8% 8.8% 7.9% Please note: figures above relate to the proportion of students who left their courses prematurely. Benchmark figures in brackets Student Success and Employability The University achieves some of the highest levels of graduate employment in the sector, and in (the year for which the most up to date information is currently available) 92.2% of our graduates were either employed or enrolled on further study and training courses within six months of graduation. As with other universities in the sector, students social and economic background can influence access to graduate career opportunities. During the past year, the University has been conducting research into the first destinations of the graduating cohort (the group for which, at the time of writing, the most comprehensive data is available). This research has provided an insight into some of the challenges which remain for students from under-represented social and economic backgrounds. Students from NS SEC 1-3 are more likely to enter graduate-level occupations and those within the traditional professions. They are also more likely to secure permanent employment contracts. Graduates from NS SEC 4-7, on the other hand, are more likely to work on fixed-term contracts in jobs for which a degree qualification is not necessarily required. Access to postgraduate 8

9 study is less influenced by social and economic factors. Students from NS SEC 1-3 and 4-7 are both equally likely to enroll for postgraduate degrees, although for economic reasons, postgraduate students from groups 1-3 are more likely to fund themselves (see Appendix 6). Several initiatives are currently being introduced at the University which will enable all students, regardless of social and economic background, to achieve their career aspirations. My Liverpool - a new website portal is about to be launched which will signpost students to a variety of extracurricular opportunities available to them while at the University. Based on feedback from leading graduate recruiters and the CBI, the new portal will seek to overcome social and economic barriers by helping students develop their skills, contacts and work experience. In addition to My Liverpool, the University s pioneering Student Alumni mentoring programme, which was introduced in , is to be extended in to encompass significantly higher numbers of students particularly those who have enrolled at the University via the Scholars programme. Given the importance in today s job market of relevant work experience, the University also offers students from Widening Participation backgrounds access to a range of internships with graduate recruiters. Sourced by the Careers and Employability Service, these internships are funded via the Liverpool Award Fund Balance of Expenditure In the English Russell Group, the University of Liverpool has been ranked the second largest recruiter of students whose household income falls below 25,000. In recognition of this, the support packages we have developed are designed not only to attract students to the University but, crucially, to support them during their studies. In doing so, our funding directly aids retention and progression. For , we broadly intend to maintain the current percentage of new fee income devoted to Widening Participation activities (although the actual amount of expenditure will rise). We will, however, be placing increased emphasis on activities designed to boost student success. We are also revising and extending our bursary offer. This will mean that all students with a household income of up to 25,000 will receive a 2,000 per annum bursary. Students whose household income falls between 25,000 and 42,620 will receive a bursary of 1,000 per annum. Additional funds will be targeted on student success initiatives designed to support employability, such as an expanded student mentoring programme and ongoing support programmes for students. We also plan to offer new workshops and presentations on graduate employability and careers which are to be designed specifically for parents of prospective students. Accompanying these will be an ongoing programme of employability-related webinars. Funds will also be provided to enable a sustainable expansion of the Scholars programme, which, as our research suggests, is currently converting over 90 per cent of students into university entrants. As in the previous year, we will be investing further resources in systems designed to track students from Key Stage 2 onwards and have recently purchased the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) database. Under the direction of a senior member of staff, the University will be continuing to invest significant resources in evaluating our outreach activities. To support him, an Evaluation Task Group has been established, consisting of staff from the three academic faculties and professional services. The Task 9

10 Group reports to the Access Agreement Strategy Group and, during the coming year, will hold a national conference to showcase the Liverpool Widening Participation Evaluation Model. Furthermore, as part of our ongoing drive to increase outreach, resources are being directed to making the University s considerable arts, museum and heritage collections more accessible to groups of school pupils (pre and post-16). As a leading Russell Group university, Liverpool has an extensive arts and heritage collection which we plan to promote more effectively and visibly to local schools. This will involve encouraging schools to make use of various artistic and historical artefacts and encouraging more school groups (and parents) to visit our campus-based museums. Evidence from other universities has shown that arts and heritage collections, when used as part of a carefully planned and coordinated outreach programme, can be extremely effective in raising aspirations Collaboration and the Student Lifecycle In 2013, the University of Liverpool and the University of Manchester launched a new collaboration programme designed to coordinate both universities pre-16 outreach activities across the North West. This has proved to be a pioneering project and has made considerable inroads into low participation schools. Liverpool and Manchester working together in this way is providing schools and colleges across the North West with direct contact with two of the country s leading researchintensive universities. We are now about to expand our collaborative work to include other universities in the region. For example, discussions are underway to work with Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool Hope University and Edge Hill University in running a series of information and advice seminars aimed specifically at young people and their parents. These are to be piloted in Alongside these events, in recognition of the difficult graduate job market in Merseyside, joint careers and employability seminars are being planned in which careers advisers will run specific webinars and information sessions to prospective students. Again, these events are to be piloted during this coming year. For students currently enrolled at the University, our new Employability and Educational Opportunities department will offer a coherent and effective whole student lifecycle approach which will enable the University to work closely with students from underrepresented backgrounds from pre-entry stage to post-graduation. This is a unique development and one which reflects Liverpool s commitment to focusing on the student lifecycle model Diversity & Equality The University remains committed to addressing the underrepresentation of specific equality groups in its access, outreach and retention activities. Relevant student access and retention objectives identified within the Access Agreement Equality Data Report 2013, along with key equality objectives in the University s Equality Action Plan ( ) and Athena SWAN Bronze Action Plan ( ) will be embedded in all implementation activities. Specifically the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender and the race of students will be considered. According to our research, a higher percentage of disabled students during assessment undertake academic re-sits. The rates of academic failure, however, are extremely low and are the same between disabled and non-disabled students (Table 4). This suggests that the current flexibility provided by the University for students with disabilities is meeting their personal and academic needs. 10

11 Table 4 Progression of students (Main campus only) Nondisabled Disabled Successfully completed/ progressed 86.2% 76.3% Resitting Year 5.9% 11.5% Continuing transferred programme 3.8% 5.5% Academic Failure 0.6% 0.6% Exit Qualification Awarded 1.3% 2.5% In summary, areas of success for the University to build upon include the recruitment of students from state schools and colleges, low-participation neighbourhoods and NS SEC 4-7, while areas identified as priorities for future attention include: Ongoing evaluation of the support offered to students with disabilities Tackling underrepresentation of specific Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups Enhancing degree classification outcomes for some under-represented groups Implementing targeted employability measures for students from LPN and NS SEC Setting the Strategic Approach to Access and Student Success The University of Liverpool s outreach activities target the following under-represented groups: Those from National Socio-Economic Classifications 4-7 (lower socio-economic groups) Those living in low participation neighborhoods Young people who have been in local authority care Inclusion of students who may have a disability, those that come from specific Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and gender underrepresentation in specific programme areas The University has continued to follow the four-step framework for its Widening Participation activities, i.e. Pre-16 Outreach focus on awareness-raising / progression to higher education as both an option and a choice (ages 9-16) Post-16 Outreach Aspiration-raising activities linked directly to choice and attainment (ages 16-17) Fair Admissions - Scholars, Realising Opportunities and Go Higher schemes, which are directly linked to supported admissions (16+ years and adults returning to education) Retention and Success - Activities to support students in achieving their potential This framework has been developed over a number of years, working in partnership with other Merseyside HEIs and with a wide range of schools and colleges both regionally and nationally. 11

12 Furthermore, prior to the 2012 introduction of increased tuition fees, the effectiveness of the overall approach within the Merseyside region was evidenced by increased levels of enrolments of students from Low Participation Neighborhoods. According to new research by UCAS 2, applications to higher education continue to fall, particularly in areas of relative social and economic deprivation such as Merseyside. This suggests that if levels of participation among underrepresented groups in the Merseyside region are to return to and exceed their 2012 level, considerable and sustained pre and post-16 outreach work is required. This framework provides a mechanism for addressing this requirement. 3.1 Pre-16 Outreach: Target Audience: Ages 9-16 Objectives: Increase delivery of Professor Fluffy curriculum to target schools Develop further on-campus outreach programmes with years 5-11 Years 5-11 off-campus outreach activities delivered in partner schools Increase the number of aspiration-raising summer schools Expand opportunities for young people from the care system Embed diversity and equality consideration within all pre-16 outreach activities. The University continues to work with the top feeder primary schools to our partner secondary schools in order to provide early awareness raising programmes targeted at Year 5/6 (Key Stage 2) children, and then continue with partner/associate schools with Year 7 (Key Stage 3), and Year 8 (Key Stage 3) interventions. A three-year aspiration raising programme then follows for years 9-11 (Key Stage 3-4). In addition, subject-specific summer schools are offered for Year 10 students (Key Stage 4). There is also a targeted aspiration-raising programme for young people who have been in care, Superstars, which operates at Key Stage 3-4, and also a mentoring programme for students from an ethnic minority background for students from Key Stage 4 (Year 11). Evaluation activity is undertaken for all the programmes above on completion of the interventions. The University is an active partner in NEON (National Educational Opportunities Network) and is currently exploring opportunities to collaborate with our primary outreach work with local universities. 3.2 Post -16 Outreach: Target Audience: Ages Potential applicants to HE from NS SEC 4-7 and those living in low participation neighbourhoods Black and minority ethnic (BAME) Students Care leavers Disabled students Women and men in underrepresented programme areas Target schools and colleges Realising Opportunities Group

13 Objectives: Managed and sustainable increase in the numbers of Scholars recruited Expand programmes designed to support the progression of care leavers to HE Raise the profile of and recruitment to, HE generally and the University of Liverpool specifically, in target schools and colleges through both collaborative and independent arrangements Development of enhanced relationships with local Councils with regard to offering opportunities to young people who may have been in care, and also, developing opportunities for university staff to act as school governors 3.3 Liverpool Scholars Programme The University of Liverpool Scholars programme aims to support students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds with applications and entry to the University of Liverpool and the wider higher education sector. The programme consists of a range of academic activities, including skills workshops, lectures and seminars designed to help prepare students for university life. Each student is supported by an academic tutor. Evidence suggests that the programme is highly effective in terms of building students confidence and enhancing their UCAS application. In addition, for those students who complete the programme, Scholars provides: A guaranteed conditional offer of a place at The University of Liverpool (this offer is reduced by the equivalent of 40 UCAS points); A non-repayable University of Liverpool financial bursary to help towards tuition fees and living expenses. (Students studying NHS funded programmes are ineligible for the Liverpool Scholars Award but are instead eligible for a NHS bursary and means-tested grant). Students who just miss out on meeting the criteria for Scholars are offered the opportunity to attend the Recognise Summer school; students who successfully complete the Recognise summer school receive a guaranteed standard offer from Liverpool University. One of the key initiatives of the University for is a continued and managed expansion of the Scholars programme, building on the steady annual increase in numbers on this two- year programme. The rationale for this is strongly evidence-based. Research indicates that during the last three years the percentage of students who are progressing into higher education from the Scholars programme has been rising substantially (see Table 5). The Scholars programme attracted 135 applications from 25 local schools and sixth-form colleges. Of these 124 students were recruited to the two-year programme. A breakdown of the schools from which the most recent group of Scholars students came is provided in Appendix 5. For comparative purposes, in , 161 students from 37 schools and colleges applied to the Scholars programme. Of these, 120 were enrolled. This suggests that as the programme becomes better established in the region, a group of target schools and sixth-form colleges is emerging. 13

14 Table 5 Numbers of Scholars students applying to higher education (by Faculty) University of Liverpool faculties SCHOLARS 2011 INTAKE Health & Life Sciences Science & Engineering Humanities and Social Sciences Totals Number of UCAS applications Accepted by University of Liverpool Placed at other HE institutions Not continuing to higher education Unknown (applied through UCAS but not to University of Liverpool) Realising Opportunities The University of Liverpool is a member of the Realising Opportunities Group (ROG), a national collaborative Partnership of 15 research intensive universities working together to promote fair access and social mobility of students from under-represented groups. The Partnership was awarded the Times Higher Education, Widening Participation Initiative of the year 2011, and in October 2012 featured as an example of good practice in Alan Milburn s report University Challenge: How Higher Education Can Advance Social Mobility. The Realising Opportunities programme provides support for students through interventions designed to raise aspirations and enable them to demonstrate their potential for success at a research intensive university. These interventions are offered both at their local participating university, and nationally. The programme includes a National Student Conference and each student is provided with on-going support and encouragement by a student e-mentor who is an undergraduate student from one of the 15 universities. Successful completion of the ROG programme, which includes a robust academic element, will result in additional consideration being given to applications through UCAS from all 15 universities, and the potential for an alternative offer worth up to 40 UCAS points or equivalent from many. Realising Opportunities has a robust evaluation framework which incorporates contextual data, student aspirations and the tracking of students through the UCAS process. In 2013 an academic research team was appointed to provide an overarching academic study for ROG. Each of the participating Realising Opportunities institutions has committed future funds to ensure the on-going delivery and development of ROG to For , each of the 15 universities has agreed a financial contribution of 42,092 to support delivery. The commitment is expected to be of a similar figure. This year, the RO Partnership has set a joint target with regard to the proportion of students progressing to research intensive universities (RIU). The aim is that 36% of students who enroll on the programme in Year 12 will, by 2015, be studying at a RIU university. The University of Liverpool has a successful track-record in enrolling RO students. According to data released by UCAS, of the 26 students who completed the RO programme in 2012, 9 were accepted on to degree programmes at the University of Liverpool. Courses representing all three faculties were included in the list of destinations. A further 6 students have subsequently applied to study at 14

15 the University in A further 5 of the 26 students were enrolled by other English universities. These included the University of Manchester, Liverpool Hope, Liverpool John Moores, Southampton, and Bishop Grosseteste. A further 5 are not recorded by UCAS as having made a university application. 3.5 Target Schools and Colleges The University has a Schools Partnership Strategy which details how it works with Associate, Partner and Target Schools and Colleges. The Student Recruitment and Admissions Office deliver an annual HE Advisers Conference and an annual conference for teachers and Connexions staff. We are working collaboratively with the Greater Merseyside Connexions Partnership on a HE week around the Merseyside UCAS convention to include parents and teachers. 3.6 Looked After Children and Care Leavers The University has achieved the Buttle UK Quality Mark at the exemplary level for our processes and procedures to support care leavers. Although the Buttle UK Quality Mark will be discontinued from July 2014, we will continue with our work in this area. Following on from our dedicated programme for care-leavers ( Superstars ) we send out individual invitations to care leavers through the Care Leavers Teams to our Open Days, and also circulate information about pastoral and financial support for care leavers provided by the University to the North West Care Leaving Teams. 3.7 Mature Students The University continues to review and develop its in-house mature student access course. Go Higher is a year-long, academic-based access course, which prepares students for undertaking a University of Liverpool degree in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Go Higher students start with a thorough academic induction and preparation programme to help them to make a transition into university study. 3.8 Fair Admissions and Contextual Data Research work on the validity of contextual data is ongoing. The University has two students who are undertaking PhDs in the area of WP. The first study is examining the impact of socio-economic status on university performance using a retrospective cohort design; the second is seeking to distinguish how contextual data can practically be incorporated into the admissions process. Contextual data is already used to prioritise unsuccessful applicants for year 1 entry who are referred to the foundation science and engineering programmes at Carmel College but, as a result of the research work currently being undertaken, the University has now agreed a formula to enable it to allocate a flag to applicants who fulfill a range of WP criteria. Further development work on the University s IT systems is still required to support this, but it is expected that for 2015 entry in the non-clinical subject areas we will be able to systematically identify applicants who fulfil the WP criteria, with a view to giving them additional consideration if they should fail to meet the entry requirements at confirmation. In addition to this new work being undertaken to identify and support the WP cohort, special provisions are already in place for applicants who indicate that they have spent a period in local authority care. 15

16 4. Expenditure on Financial Support, Retention and Success The University plans to maintain its investment in access-related activities at 1,250,000. At the same time, our expenditure on activities and resources aimed at Student Success rises from 250,000 in to 617,000 in This increase in investment reflects the additional priority placed by the University on a range of initiatives designed to ensure that students from all social and economic backgrounds achieve their goals and aspirations both during and after higher education. Included in this work will be an expanded student mentoring programme. Such expenditure will maintain the University s total overall investment in Widening Participation at 28% of its Higher Fee Income. 4.1 Bursaries and Fee Discounts In , the University aims to provide a total of 8,364,000 in bursaries and scholarships. This represents an increase on the 8,017,000 that was made available in The University is also revising and extending the model for which bursaries are currently allocated. For , all students with a household income of up to 25,000 will receive a 2,000 bursary. Students whose household income falls between 25,000 and 42,620 will receive a bursary of 1, Targets and Milestones The University has taken the opportunity to take a more holistic view of our widening participation activities. We have rationalised our framework for key Access Agreement targets and milestones this is detailed in Appendix 6. We are also producing a detailed implementation plan containing individual targets, and associated monitoring and evaluation procedures. 6. Monitoring and evaluation Responsibility for achieving the targets and objectives within the Access Agreement resides ultimately with the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience. Supporting the PVC are several interlinked groups and committees involving senior staff from academic faculties and professional services. Also represented on each of these groups and committees are representatives from the Guild of Students. In 2013, the University established an Access Agreement Strategy Group (AASG) to ensure that the targets and milestones within the Access Agreement are met. AASG is chaired by the PVC for Student Experience and its membership includes Faculty Widening Participation Directors, representatives of appropriate professional services and the Guild of Students. In turn, the AASG reports to the Admissions and Widening Participation Committee, which takes a continual reflective review of the University s Fair Access Agenda and provides an annual assessment of progress to the University Student Experience Committee. The Access Agreement Strategy Group receives reports on planned activities to support access, retention and success, the annual Faculty and professional services plans in these areas, and monitoring data. The Group also has responsibility for identifying areas for evaluation and receives reports on this activity. (In , a new Task Group is to be established which will take an institution-wide overview of evaluating the Agreement. The Task Group will in turn report directly to the Access Agreement Strategy Group). 16

17 To ensure activity around access, retention and success is effective and cost-efficient the University is investing in a dedicated resource specifically to support evaluation of these activities in the form of a senior researcher acting as the evaluation-lead. Capacity for monitoring and evaluation will be increased by establishing an institution-wide evaluation framework. This will consist of: 1. A core programme of performance monitoring against targets for all strategic commitments and harmonised for all areas of the University s fair access work; 2. The capture of outcomes (considering attitudinal change in relation to specific programmes and types of support) at individual and other aggregate levels; 3. A supporting programme of research and qualitative evaluation. These strategies will generate monitoring and evaluation data that are systematic and robust for designated cohorts to demonstrate evidence of effectiveness for: raising aspirations; influencing learner choice; improving retention; supporting learner graduation; and maximising employment success. The evaluation framework will be designed to allow the tracking of individual learners through their university career, tracking by student characteristics and at budget centre, as well as other aggregate levels. Evaluation will inform future plans by the dissemination of findings and research intelligence through a range of channels internally within the University and externally through partnerships and other forums. The University s evaluation framework will be compliant with and feed into OFFA s national evaluation framework when it is launched in the autumn, to contribute to the picture of fair access across the English HE sector. 7. Equality and Diversity The University of Liverpool is committed to creating an inclusive learning environment for all students. The University recognises its responsibilities to eliminate discrimination and promote equality in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty, for people with the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, race (including nationality), religious belief and non-belief, gender and sexual orientation. The drafting of this Access Agreement has been done in accordance with our obligations under the Equality Act 2010 to have due regard for the impact of our policies, criteria and practices on different equality groups. As part of the process of developing this Access Agreement, an equality data analysis has taken place, reviewing relevant key student demographic information, in particular age, disability, race and gender. The University monitors students through the enrolment process on the protected characteristics of age, disability, race, nationality, and gender. From September 2013 the University introduced equality monitoring of the protected characteristics of religious belief and non-belief and sexual orientation, along with monitoring questions on student dependents (e.g. children). Annual equality data reports are produced by Strategic Planning for the Diversity and Equality Team on the key data sets of applications, new starters, all enrolments, progression and degree attainment. These data 17

18 sets will be used to inform and report on progress to the Access Agreement Strategy Group, the Equality Working Group and other relevant committees. Additional data may be collected as and when required in order to evaluate specific projects where data is not centrally available. This may include conducting equality analysis/impact assessment processes. The Access Agreement includes key equality targets/areas of activity which support and complement the Equality Action Plan and the Athena SWAN Bronze Renewal Action Plan. The Access Agreement Strategy Group is responsible for the implementation of relevant equality objectives and actions that relate to access, outreach and widening participation. The Diversity & Equality officer is a member of the Access Agreement Strategy Group as part of a linked up approach to the implementation of the equality objectives. Currently, data is routinely collected regarding the numbers of young people with disabilities, and also ethnic origin, for many of the WP-specific programmes and activities run by the University. We will introduce a more robust method of consistent data collection across the university, and also ensure that there are opportunities for this data to be analysed in terms of trends and progression into higher education data. 8. Provision of information to prospective students The University of Liverpool is committed to providing relevant and timely information, including articulation of progression routes, to all prospective students as well as evaluating the impact of communications to ensure they meet evolving student needs. Communications are continuously developed in light of feedback from applicants, as reported in regular applicant surveys. In particular, financial communications are produced with the specific objective of ensuring students fully understand the changes to finance arrangements and the range of financial packages currently available to them. The key communication tool the University employs to clarify financial information is the Student Finance Information Booklet (SFIB). This communication goes into greater detail than the broad overview of fees and finance found in the University s Prospectus. It is distributed to all those made an offer as part of the Applicant Information Pack, and is made available to all prospective students online, at University-wide Open Days, subject-based Applicant Discovery Days and outreach events. The SFIB is supported by a detailed website ( A range of digital activities is also used to disseminate financial information; this currently includes webinars (interactive online information sessions) offered outside school/working hours and targeted at prospects and their supporters, regular update s and appropriate use of social media channels. Face to face advice, information and guidance on finance in Higher Education continues to be offered to the target schools and colleges that we pro-actively work with. In addition, finance workshops and presentations form an integral part of on-campus visits aimed at prospects such as Open Days and Post Applicant Visit Days. It is in the University s interest to ensure prospective students and their parents and supporters are fully aware of the very latest student finance information, and we are keen to ensure, through regular market research, that related communications activities meet these needs. 18

19 In addition we have dedicated resource committed to providing timely and accurate information to UCAS and the SLC so that they can populate their course databases in good time to inform applications. 9. Consultation with Students (Statement from the Liverpool Guild of Students) At Liverpool Guild of Students we are encouraged that the University of Liverpool have recognised the importance in drafting an Access Agreement that is geared toward the entire student life cycle, rather than treating access and retention as two different areas. It is also encouraging that the University continues to lead in the Russell Group when it comes to recruiting students from state schools and lower socio-economic groups; this must of course be balanced against the fact that the University of Liverpool is located in one of the most economically deprived cities in the Russell Group. We are also encouraged that the University has offered a bursary to students who come from families who earn between 25,000 and 42,620. It has been recognised across students' unions throughout the country that bursaries should be flexible in order to fit the variety of needs of students, especially in light of the introduction of nine thousand pound fees. We firmly believe that bursaries and scholarships are key to improving student access and retention. Conversations with our students suggest that some could not continue with their studies were it not for the financial support they receive. Further cuts to bursary could mean the difference between a student being able to finish their course or not. Alongside this we champion the need for thorough and extensive consultation with the Guild. We are convinced that only through setting long-term financial and strategic objectives in consultation with the Guild can the University write an Access Agreement that will allow them to become leaders not only in the Russell Group, but in the entire Higher Education sector at widening participation. With cuts to the National Scholarship programme across the country, we reiterate the point that cuts of even a couple of hundred pounds could negatively affect our students. The 2,000 the University is offering for first year students from the lowest earning backgrounds will no doubt be of great benefit to our members. Evidence from our members suggests that the previous bursary offer of 3,000 made a huge difference to their educational experience; we hope the University will again one day be in a position to offer this sum. Additionally, both national and local research carried out by the Guild and NUS suggests that the number one reason students drop out of University is due to financial difficulties, we believe the best way to prevent students dropping out is through a generous bursary and scholarship provision. Finally, we are encouraged that future conversations are set to take place around the Access to Learning Fund. Given that this fund is often a last resort for students we are pleased that whilst there is no mention of the fund here, we will receive further consultation on this provision, and the Student Opportunity Fund more generally. In a year which sees upcoming cuts to disability allowances, and an ever increasing onus on student employability, we hope the University will continue in the spirit we have entered this agreement into with an increased focus on Guild participation in financial decisions, and ring fencing funding for our most vulnerable students. 19

20 Appendix 1: Summary of destinations of University of Liverpool RO students Destination Programme of Study 1. Applied to University of Liverpool E2014 H109 Engineering Foundation & LM39 Criminology & Sociology 2. Applied to University of Liverpool E2014 N101 BA Business Studies with yr in Industry 3. Applied to University of Liverpool E2014 F111 Chemistry with Year in Industry & F108 BSc Chemical Sciences Foundation 4. Applied to University of Liverpool E2014 H109 Engineering Foundation 5. Applied to University of Liverpool E2014 F102 MCHEM & M303 MPHYS 6. Applied to University of Liverpool E2014 L311 BA Criminology 7. Bishop Grosseteste University E2013 C8XH Education Studies and Psychology 8. Manchester University E2013 M100 Law 9. Liverpool Hope University E2013 M990 Criminology 10. Liverpool John Moores University E2013 N820 Events Management 11. University of Southampton E2013 F700 Oceanography 12. University of Liverpool E2013 V100 History 13. University of Liverpool E2013 B700 Nursing 14. University of Liverpool E2013 G408 Computer Science Foundation 15. University of Liverpool E2013 L000 Combined Honours 16. University of Liverpool E2013 QR31 BA English and French 17. University of Liverpool E2013 N401 BA Accounting and Finance with Year in Industry 18. University of Liverpool E2013 N400 BA Accounting and Finance 19. University of Liverpool E2013 L302 BA Sociology 20. University of Liverpool E2013 C701 BSc Biochemistry with Year in Industry 21. No UCAS application 22. Unsuccessful University of Liverpool H1WF Engineering with Product Design applicant: not placed elsewhere. 23. No UCAS application No UCAS application No UCAS application No UCAS application - Source: UCAS,

21 Appendix 2: Employability at the University of Liverpool analysed by National Statistics, Social and Economic Classification (NS SEC) Category NS SEC 1-3 NS SEC 4-7 Full-time employment 31% 35% Graduate prospects 75% 66% Professional occupations 41% 33% Permanent contract 58% 33% Of those enrolled for postgraduate study: Studying for Research degree Of those enrolled for postgraduate study: Studying for Taught degree Enrolled for PG study at the University of Liverpool 33% 33% 58% 66% 66% 66% Self-funding 66% 25% Source: HESA

22 Appendix 3: Internal University of Liverpool Governance Structure for monitoring the Access Agreement Senate Student Experience Committee Admissions and Widening Participation Committee Senate is the University s governing body and along with Council, carries the ultimate responsibility for monitoring and evaluating the University s Strategic Plan. Within the Strategic Plan, extending widening participation is one of the key aims, along with increasing the proportion of students entering the University from under-represented groups. Student Experience Committee is responsible to Senate and the Council for the implementation of the Student Experience and Widening Participation key priorities of the University s Strategic Plan. Student Experience Committee oversees the development and implementation of the University s policies for promoting widening participation and fair access and monitors their implementation. Also included in the Student Experience Committee remit is the monitoring of the University s fees, bursary and scholarship policies. The committee is responsible for all diversity and equality issues relating to the student experience. The role of AWPC is to oversee the development, implementation and monitoring of all the University s policies and practices relating to the Access agreement, including recruitment and admissions of students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Each faculty has an AWPC which provides regular reports to the university AWPC. AWPC reports directly to Student Experience Committee and consists of representatives from each of the academic faculties, the President and VP of the Student Guild, and senior representatives from key professional services. Chaired by the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Experience. 22

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