Access and Participation

At the University of Hertfordshire, we have a strong record in terms of access and participation, which is evident in our student population and the proportion of students from under-represented backgrounds. Just under 70% of our undergraduate, UK/EU student population are from under-represented backgrounds. This includes students who identify as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), students from parts of the country with the lowest progression to higher education, students on incomes below £25,000, and students who declare a disability,

In terms of access, we will continue to deliver impactful outreach activity through our network of Hertfordshire schools, and with our Uni Connect programme, to support participation increases for under-represented groups to both the University and to the sector. We have also made good progress in areas such as continuation and attainment for both disadvantaged (measured by low participation and low income) and disabled students. Graduate data reveals high overall progression for all students, including into highly skilled employment and higher further study. We are particularly proud of the tailored 1:1 support we offer our care experienced students.

Our data also highlights areas for improvement where gaps exist or are widening. In our latest Access and Participation Plan (2020/21 – 2024-25), we draw on evidence and evaluations to identify where these gaps are widest and where we need to allocate resource and activity in order to achieve equality of opportunity and outcomes for all students.

Overall, we recognise that our biggest challenge is in addressing equal outcomes for our BAME students, compared to White students. We are addressing this by engaging our community of BAME students and staff to not only collaboratively identify gaps in outcomes, but also, to co-generate solutions for improving the student experience. For example, our BAME Advocates are students helping to bridge engagement between students and academic schools.

We have developed our 2020/21 – 2024-25 Access and Participation Plan to reflect these challenges. The targets we have set ourselves reflect this assessment, which we aim to fulfil by 2024-25. However, we also recognise that these targets focus on specific groups and that achieving equal outcomes for all students may not be completed within the lifespan of this plan. With that in mind, we aim to fully achieve our strategic aims by 2030-31.

Strategic aims

In order to drive real change in outcomes and student experience, we have adopted the following the strategic aims, which will be implemented at all levels:

  • Equal outcomes for all students
  • Transforming lives for all students
  • Inclusive culture and environment for students and staff

Achieving equal outcomes for all students will address our aims and objectives relating to key target groups (BAME, mature, low participation and disabled) and their non-continuation and attainment.

Transforming lives for all students represents our commitment, not only to other target groups, such as low participation, care leavers and mature students, but to the whole student community. We strongly believe that by supporting and improving the student experience for target groups will also benefit the whole student community.

Developing an inclusive culture and environment for students and staff will allow us to address key issues and challenges raised by our student and staff communities. A truly inclusive culture will support the whole student lifecycle through curriculum, pastoral and experiential support.

We invite you to explore our latest Access and Participation (2020/21 – 2024-25) by following the link below.

Access and Participation Plan

Access agreements

School and College Liaison

We offer advice and support to schools and colleges on higher education and access to the University of Hertfordshire.

Contact the Education Liaison team to find out more.