The AAEP has been internally funded to evaluate the University of Lincoln’s Access Agreement.
Any University or Further Education College in England which wants to charge higher tuition fees (fees above the basic level) for home/EU undergraduates must have an Access Agreement which it submits annually to the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), the independent public body which regulates fair access to Higher Education in England. The University of Lincoln’s legacy of Access Agreements began with the academic year 2006/07. The Access Agreement for 2017/18 is currently in effect and an agreement for 2018/19 will come into effect on September 1st 2018. There are 13 University of Lincoln Access Agreements in the public domain available on the OFFA website.
Initiatives detailed in Access Agreements detail how a University can sustain or improve access, success and progression among individuals from under-represented and disadvantaged groups. Nationally, monitoring and evaluation are considered the key challenge of Access Agreements as Higher Education Institutions have tended to focus on monitoring outputs rather than outcomes. To fulfil the university’s commitment to evaluating its Access Agreement, the Access Agreement Evaluation Project (AAEP) was established in September 2017 with the appointment of Rachel (Research Fellow), Jen (Research Assistant) and Bethan (Project Administrator). The AAEP Board chaired by the Director of Student Affairs was launched in November 2017 to provide direction and guidance for the evaluation. During 2017/18 the AAEP will focus on Understanding the impact of financial support (bursaries/scholarships) on access, support and success. The AAEP will make use of the toolkit provided by OFFA to explore financial impact as well as surveying and interviewing students. The evaluation has received ethical approval from the School of Education and is currently underway.
Dr Rachel Spacey