LSE is one of England’s top spenders on access and support

LSE is committed to recruiting the best possible students with the highest academic and intellectual potential, whatever their background.
Nigel Stead

LSE invested more in widening participation and student support as a proportion of its home undergraduate fees than any other English university, according to figures released from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA).

OFFA’s report on monitoring outcomes for 2015-16 shows LSE spent a total of £4.6 million per year on student bursaries, support and measures to widen access - well over half of its ‘additional fee income’.

On access measures alone LSE was also one of the top spenders in England, with £600,000 – or 7.8 per cent of the fee income - going on programmes which support under-represented students applying to LSE. This compares to an average of 4.5 per cent for all English universities.

The report also shows that nearly a quarter of all home undergraduate students at LSE received a full bursary from the School, worth £4,000 per year, and over a third received financial aid.

As OFFA does not monitor spending on postgraduate or international students, LSE’s total investment in all widening participation initiatives was, in fact, significantly higher than outlined in the report. In 2015-16 the School spent over £4.6 million on postgraduate bursaries and over £750,000 on support for overseas undergraduates.

In addition to monitoring spending, OFFA has outlined how universities like LSE are making great strides to widen their intake of students.

The 2015-16 data show LSE has already surpassed its benchmarks for the proportion of students admitted from lower-income households and from low participation neighbourhoods. For example, LSE had 7.1 per cent of students from low participation neighbourhoods compared to a 3.8 per cent average for universities with high entry requirements.

Commenting on the data, Interim LSE Director Professor Julia Black said:

“LSE is committed to recruiting the best possible students with the highest academic and intellectual potential, whatever their background. To fulfil this commitment we invest major resources in a variety of measures and access schemes, all of which aim to attract a range of qualified students and raise the aspirations and attainment of those from under-represented backgrounds.

In 2015 the School updated how it used contextual information to better identify candidates from ‘low-participation neighbourhoods’, one of the most under-represented groups in UK higher education. We are delighted this change has led to more applications from these students being turned into offers at LSE.”

To view the full OFFA report visit: Monitoring of 2015-16 Access Agreements

Behind the article

LSE’s Widening Participation Team delivers a comprehensive programme of pre-entry outreach, engaging with 2500 young people each year from across London State schools and colleges. See LSE Widening Participation for more information 

There are a series of developments planned in 2017-18 to further LSE’s work in widening participation, these will include:

  • A new group, with teacher representation, to ensure even greater value of our outreach efforts;
  • Continued development of student-led activity in the transition to LSE for those from our WP schemes;
  • Further research and analysis to demonstrate the impact of our work in widening participation, and shape future developments for both LSE and the sector through the sharing of outcomes and best practice.

LSE takes a School-wide and whole lifecycle approach to widening participation driven by the Widening Participation Steering Group chaired by Pro Director for Education Professor Paul Kelly.