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.
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 http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/rereports/year/2013/nspeval/
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.
Liz recently gave a key note address for Westminster Briefing, titled
Targeting funds: gauging the cost-effectiveness of scholarships &
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.