What is Widening Participation?
Widening participation (WP) is a Government strategic priority, shared by Lancaster University which aims to ensure that the higher education sector is an open and inclusive environment, representative of the society we live in. WP activities work to support under-represented groups to enter higher education and to support WP students studying at university to succeed in their studies and progress onto graduate employment or further study once they have completed their undergraduate degree.
Who is it aimed at?
Lancaster uses the following criteria for widening participation:
- Young people from low income backgrounds (i.e. a household income of £30,000 or less);
- Young people from lower socio-economic groups or from neighbourhoods where higher education participation is low (POLAR quintile 1). This can be checked by inputting your postcode here.
- Young people who are first in their family to progress onto higher education;
- Certain minority ethnic groups;
- Young people with disabilities;
- Young people with mental health problems, Specific Learning Difficulties and/or who are on the autism spectrum;
- Young people in receipt of free school meals;
- Young people eligible for pupil premium;
- Children in care, looked after or care leavers;
- Young people with caring responsibilities;
- Young people estranged from their families;
- Young people from gypsy and Traveller communities;
- Refugees and asylum seekers;
- Children from military families.
What is an access and participation plan?
Any university or college that wishes to charge the maximum tuition fees for full-time UK/EU students must have an access and participation plan (previously known as an access agreement) which has been approved by the Office for Students (previously the Office for Fair Access).
An access and participation plan details a university’s strategic commitments to support widening participation as well as the measures it will take to achieve its goals and details of financial support for students.
Details of Lancaster’s access and participation plan can be found here. Lancaster’s previous access agreement’s can be found here.
What is Lancaster University doing?
Lancaster offers a wider programme of activity for students across each stage of the student lifecycle:
Highlights of some of our programmes and current activity can be found within the respective section on this site.