The university access environment has changed significantly in the last decade, influenced by fee rises, increased access and outreach responsibilities for universities, and changes to the funding premium. In recent years, universities have launched a sector-wide effort to develop access and admissions programmes, with greater and lesser degrees of success.

Our research analyses the current landscape of widening participation and access programmes, as well as the effects of specific admissions strategies on disadvantaged students, and aims to improve their transparency and outcomes. The Sutton Trust is also working with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) to drive a higher standard of evaluation and accountability mechanisms for university access programmes.

The Sutton Trust is a strong supporter of contextualised university admissions policies, clear access targets, and outreach initiatives like summer schools and mentoring programmes.