QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY BELFAST

                          Access Agreement (from 2012-13)

1.   Introduction

     Queen’s University is committed to providing its students with an educational
     experience that is on a par with the best universities in the world. It is also committed
     to ensuring that those who have the ability to benefit from such an education should
     have an opportunity to do so, irrespective of socio-economic background, disability,
     ethnicity, political opinion, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or age.

2.   Access to Queen’s

     Each year, HESA produces a range of university performance indicators, including
     specific measures relating to access. Queen’s performs well on these indicators,
     significantly exceeding the benchmark figure for students from lower socio-economic
     backgrounds. The latest set of indicators was published in July 2011 and the figures
     for Queen’s are set out in the table below.

     Table 1: Summary of Access Performance Indicators 2009-10

      Access Performance Indicators                   Queen’s      Benchmark       Average
                                                         %                %
      Percentage from state schools                     98.4             83.9         88.8

      Percentage from lower socio-economic
                                                        32.4             25.5         30.0
      backgrounds (SEC 4-7)

      Percentage from low participation
                                                         5.0             7.4          10.3

      Percentage in receipt of Disabled
                                                         3.3             4.2           4.8
      Students’ Allowance

     At a national level, there has been considerable debate on the performance of
     universities in attracting students from state schools and from lower socio-economic
     backgrounds. As indicated above, Queen’s currently exceeds its benchmark in these
     indicators. The challenge of raising aspiration and awareness in low participation
     neighbourhoods is being addressed through initiatives outlined in the University’s
     Widening Participation Strategic Assessment (WPSA) report. Annex 1 indicates the
     level of the University’s achievements by a comparison with a group of its peer

     With regard to Access Agreements, it has been suggested that more will be expected
     in terms of outreach and financial support, from institutions “whose record suggests
     they have the furthest to go in securing a diverse student body”. The figures in
     Table 1 and Annex 1 demonstrate that Queen’s is already successful in attracting a
     diverse student population.

3.    Level of Fees

      The University is committed to ensuring that students at Queen’s have a world-class
      educational experience. To help sustain this provision, the University will, for 2012-
      13, apply an undergraduate fee, to Northern Ireland domiciled students, of £3,465 per
      annum for all courses. Exceptions are Foundation Degree courses where the fee will
      be up to £2,310 and students on their sandwich year where the fee will be £680. The
      tuition fee for students from England, Scotland and Wales will be £9,000.

4.    Support for students

      Queen’s will use the additional fee income it receives to maintain the highest
      standard of provision for its students; to encourage applications from those who can
      benefit most from coming to study here; and to provide additional financial support as
      detailed below.

4.1   Bursaries

      The Education and Library Boards (ELBs) provide means tested maintenance grants
      of up to £3,475. In addition, for students entering in 2012-13, Queen’s will provide
      cash bursaries of £800 to students who are in receipt of maximum state support
      (household income less than £19,204). This includes the minimum bursary level
      stipulated by the Department for Employment and Learning. These bursaries are
      based on the full undergraduate fee of £3,465 and will be pro-rated for students on
      Foundation Degrees paying £2,310 and students on a sandwich year paying £680.

      In addition to the cash bursary arrangement, Queen’s will provide a Student
      Experience Bursary of £110 to all students with a residual income up to £15,000
      above the threshold figure that qualifies for maximum state support. This bursary can
      be spent on - books, printing facilities, educational stationery, the Physical Education
      Centre, the Queen's Film Theatre, the Belfast Festival at Queen's and a range of
      innovative activities from the Degree Plus Programme. For 2012-13, students with a
      residual income up to £34,203 will qualify for this component of the bursary scheme.

4.2   The bursary scheme for 2012-13 entrants, as set out above, will apply to students for
      the duration of their studies. The previous scheme, for entrants before 2012-13, will
      be maintained for students continuing with their studies.

4.3   The bursary scheme is targeted towards students from the lowest income
      backgrounds, as determined by their residual household income, and it is estimated
      that 43% of students will benefit from the scheme. It will be as simple as possible
      and prospective students will be able to determine their entitlement before admission.
      Assessments of the eligibility of students will be based on information on residual
      income which is provided by the Student Loans Company, using data from the ELBs.

4.4   Student Support Fund

      In addition to the bursary scheme detailed above, the Department for Employment
      and Learning (DEL) provides the University with specific resources in the form of a
      Student Support Fund. The University administers this fund and applications for
      assistance from individual students are assessed against DEL-defined criteria. The
      total value of the fund in 2011-12 is £1,300,000 of which some £55,000 comes from
      the University’s own resources.

5.    Support and Outreach Activities

5.1   Educational Opportunities

      Plans are being developed for a new flagship Widening Participation programme
      building on the success of Discovering Queen’s (DQ), raising awareness and
      aspiration programme, and reflecting the priorities of the University’s new Corporate
      Plan 2011-16 and the associated Education Strategy 2011-16. The new ‘Access to
      the Professions’ programme will be a targeted intervention applying across
      pupil/student lifecycle from year 11 to year 14 and post-entry to professional degree
      programmes at Queen’s University. The activities will reflect the long tradition of the
      University in educating students from the region for professional employment by
      targeting post-primary schools which have not normally supplied students to Queen’s.

5.2   While financial support will continue to be important in safeguarding access to Higher
      Education, the University will continue to provide a wide range of other support that
      will help to ensure that under-represented groups can enter Queen’s and successfully
      complete their courses. This broad range of activities has been included in the

      Discovering Queen’s                  This programme has been in place for over 11
                                           years with over 25,000 participants.

                                           This programme is designed to stimulate
                                           demand for Higher Education from under-
                                           represented groups by targeting schools which
                                           traditionally had low participation in Higher
                                           Education and which had a catchment of pupils
                                           from Targeting Social Need (TSN) backgrounds.

      Students with Disabilities           The University established a specialist Disability
                                           Services Unit in 2000. The Queen’s experience
                                           for students with disabilities has been enhanced
                                           by the introduction of a range of procedures in
                                           relation to academic matters and adaptations to
                                           the University’s estate.

      Student Guidance                     The University provides a range of support
                                           services which are of particular value to those
                                           who may otherwise have difficulty in completing
                                           their course. It also offers career guidance to
                                           ensure that students have a comprehensive
                                           support service as they leave the University.

5.3   The University will continue to spend an additional sum on widening participation and
      outreach each year. In 2010-11, an additional sum of £960,000 was spent to help to
      fund a number of complementary developments which are either new or an extension
      of existing activities. These include:

         Student Support                  A new Student Guidance Centre facility was
                                           established in 2007 to house a full range of
                                           enhanced student support services, including

                                  Careers, Counselling, Disability Services,
                                  Student Finance and work placement. The
                                  Centre was further enhanced in 2010-11 and
                                  has seen an increase in students calling in for
                                  regular support and guidance on a range of
                                  issues including employability and learning

   Disability                    Additional funding has been provided            to
                                  enhance the facilities for disabled students.

   Attainment                    The Supporting Student Attainment Action
                                  Group oversees a range of projects linking pre-
                                  entry and post-entry transition, retention and
                                  attainment issues. Membership of this action
                                  group includes academic and professional
                                  support staff.

   Learning Development          This Service provides on-course support to
    Service                       increasing numbers of students to help them to
                                  address any skill deficiencies which threaten
                                  successful completion.

   Working with the Further      The University has a number of Foundation
    Education Sector              Degrees it introduced in partnership with local
                                  Further Education Colleges. A range of Access
                                  Courses for mature students has been
                                  developed and support for students on these
                                  courses enhanced.         Through collaborative
                                  arrangements and articulation agreements, the
                                  University promotes the transition from Further
                                  Education to Higher Education. The Access
                                  Programme has been part of a major review in
                                  to widening participation at the University.

   Widening Participation Unit   Since 2009-10, following internal restructuring of
                                  Directorates, the Widening Participation Unit
                                  has been aligned with Recruitment to embed
                                  the outreach activities within all mainstream
                                  Recruitment developments. This has seen an
                                  increase in engagement with Head Teachers
                                  and Careers Teachers across Northern Ireland
                                  which has been very positive for all

                                  The Unit has provided a focus for the
                                  University’s activities directed towards engaging
                                  students from low participation backgrounds.
                                  Since its introduction in 2000, over 25,000
                                  pupils have participated in the programme. The
                                  range of schools and Further Education
                                  Colleges involved in the Discovering Queen’s
                                  programme has also been extended across
                                  Northern Ireland. The level of other activities
                                  through which the University engages with local

                                           schools has been intensified to include
                                           programmes targeted especially at Year 13

          Welcome Week                    The University has invested in both social and
                                           educational activities to support students’
                                           transition to Higher Education, in particular
                                           during Welcome Week and into the first
                                           semester to ensure continued success.
                                           Activities focus on early engagement with the
                                           programmes of study as well as peer groups to
                                           support student academic success.

      It should be noted that the University’s plans are based on an assumption that
      funding for Discovering Queen’s and for widening participation (through the block
      grant) will continue.

6.    Providing Information on Financial Support

      Queen’s will continue to ensure that prospective students and their parents have all
      the information they need to make an informed decision about the commitments they
      will be making, financial and other, if they come to study at Queen’s. This information
      is made available on the University’s Website and in its printed Prospectus and other
      publications, and through visits to schools and Parents’ Associations.

      The University has already produced a number of illustrations of the net costs of
      studying at Queen’s, as part of its preparation of the Access Agreement, and these
      are made available to prospective students.

      In addition, students have access to professional advice and information services to
      help them to make the best use of the resources available to them during their time at
      Queen’s. The Student Guidance Centre provides advice on a range of issues,
      including - loans, tuition fees, bursaries, the Support Fund, scholarships, Social
      Security Benefits and budgeting skills. This advice is also available to prospective
      students at the pre-entry stage.

      The University will build on the advice it offers in meetings with school pupils (and
      their parents) to encompass much more of the Further Education sector, including
      students on Access Courses. The current, detailed, one-to-one work with mature
      students will be extended as more resources become available.

      The provision of advice and information on financial support is a shared responsibility
      for all within the University who work directly with students, particularly Finance,
      Students’ Union, Admissions and Recruitment and Outreach Officers.

7.    University Expenditure on Access Measures

7.1   This paragraph has been withheld from publication.

7.2   This paragraph has been withheld from publication.

8.    Milestones

      In developing milestones, it is important to note three key factors relating to the
      Northern Ireland context:

         There will continue to be a decline in the population of 17 year olds over the next
          five years.

         The Age Participation Index (API), and participation rates from lower socio-
          economic groups, are already considerably higher than in Great Britain.

         The overall number of full-time, undergraduate Higher Education places in
          Northern Ireland is limited by the MaSN.

      The main measures to be used in monitoring the agreement and associated
      milestones are set out below:

8.1   Applications from Socio-Economic Classifications (4-7)

      The socio-economic classification of applicants is collected by UCAS.              This
      information is not generally provided to institutions (only data on accepted applicants
      is routinely made available), but Queen’s has purchased this data and will use it to
      monitor applications, as proposed in the OFFA guidance.

      Table 2: Milestones for Applications from SEC 4-7

                                     Actual                   Milestones
                                   2009-2010      2010-2011    2011-2012    2012-13
       Number of Applicants          3,230          3,000        3,000       3,000
       Proportion of all
                                     35.5%         34-35%       34-35%      34-35%
       applicants from SEC 4-7

      While the overall number of applicants is likely to fall due to demographic changes,
      the proportion from SEC groups 4-7 will be maintained.

8.2   HESA Performance Indicators - Socio-Economic Classification 4-7

      Annual performance indicators are produced by HESA on the proportion of students
      from lower socio-economic groups 4-7. The measure for each institution is expressed
      alongside a benchmark figure which relates to the subject mix and entry qualification
      of students.

      Table 3: Milestones for Students from SEC 4-7

                                      Actual                  Milestones
                                     2009-10      2010-2011    2011-2012    2012-13
       HESA PI                        32.4%        32-34%       32-34%      32-34%
       Benchmark                      25.5%         26%          26%          26%
       Variance from Benchmark        6.9%          6-8%         6-8%        6-8%

8.3   Proportion of Students - Socio-Economic Classification 5-7

      As part of the widening participation policy, DEL has identified the need to increase
      the participation of students from socio-economic groups 5-7. These students are a

      subset of students identified in the HESA performance indicators outlined in Table 3.
      There is currently no information to benchmark participation levels for groups 5-7, but
      the University will seek to build on current participation levels.

      With the continued application of a MaSN, increasing the participation of one group
      can only be achieved at the expense of reducing the participation of another group. It
      is also important to note that students from low income backgrounds and students
      from lower socio-economic groups are not necessarily the same. To highlight this
      point, in 2009-10, 44% of students at Queen’s were from “low income” households
      (less than £33,820), whereas only 21% were from SEC categories 5-7.

      The University’s targets for participation of students from SEC groups 5-7 are set out
      in Table 4.

      Table 4: Milestones for Students from Socio-Economic Classification 5-7

                                     Actual                    Milestones
                                   2009-2010     2010-2011     2011-2012        2012-13
                                      21%          21-22%       21-22%          21-22%
       Classification 5-7

8.4   Disabled Students

      HESA produce performance indicators on the proportion of students in receipt of the
      disabled students’ allowance (DSA). In addition, the University collects information
      on the number of students declaring a disability through the Equal Opportunities
      monitoring process.

      Table 5: Milestones for Students with Disabilities

                                    Actual                      Milestones
                                   2009-10       2010-2011       2011-2012          2012-13
       HESA PI (students in
                                    3.3%         3.4-3.6%        3.4-3.6%          3.4-3.6%
       receipt of DSA)
       Benchmark                    4.2%           4.2%            4.2%              4.2%
       Variance from
                                    -0.9%      -0.8 to -0.6%    -0.8 to -0.6%     -0.8 to -0.6%

8.5   Students from Low Income Backgrounds

      The University monitors the number and proportion of students from low income
      households. In 2010-11, 27.3% of students were entitled to the maximum level of
      support with a household income of less than £19,204. A further 16% of students had
      household incomes in the range £19,204-£34,203.
Summary of Access Performance Indicators 2009-10

               Percentage from state   Percentage from lower   Percentage from low    Percentage in receipt of
                     schools              socio-economic           participation        Disabled Students’
Institution                                backgrounds           neighbourhoods             Allowance

                 PI       Benchmark      PI        Benchmark    PI        Benchmark      PI        Benchmark

                 %             %         %             %        %             %          %              %
UK Average      88.8                    30.0                   10.3                     4.8

Queen’s         98.4         83.9       32.4          25.5      5.0          7.4        3.3             4.2

Birmingham      77.6         80.8       21.0          22.6      6.1          6.9        3.8             3.7

Bristol         60.9         75.3       15.4          18.8      3.3          5.5        3.7             3.4

Cardiff         85.1         82.6       21.3          23.9      6.3          7.3        4.0             3.9

Glasgow         87.3         83.3       20.2          23.9       -             -        3.1             3.8

Liverpool       85.6         82.8       23.3          24.1      8.2          7.4        2.5             3.9

Newcastle       71.5         81.4       20.1          23.6      7.9          7.0        2.5             3.9

Nottingham      69.5         79.2       17.3          22.2      5.1          6.5        3.6             3.9

Southampton     84.5         81.5       20.1          22.9      5.3          7.1        6.2             4.4

Source: HESA

                                                                                                                 Annex 1

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