Regulating fair access to higher education in England 2006-21

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper


In this Working Paper, presented as a CGHE webinar on 11 January 2022, the UK’s former Director for Fair Access and Participation in the Office for Students, Professor Chris Millward, in a personal statement, reflects on 15 years of work on higher education access in the context of successive changes in the funding and regulation of higher education in England. The paper addresses three questions. What issues have access regulation in England sought to address? How have the access regulators pursued this and what has been learned? How might this change and what might be the effects? Professor Millward finds that the dominant pattern has been one of expanding opportunities to access higher education, but no progress yet on equality of opportunity. The paper also finds that policy and practice have failed to improve access for people entering later in life, part-time, through further education and while in work. ‘Progress in this domain requires universities, colleges and employers to work together.’ Concerned that policy may conclude from recent experience that it is necessary to reduce the number of people entering higher education, the author argues that what is needed instead is ‘a new settlement for tertiary education in England, which enables the continued expansion of higher education to new people and places, whilst diversifying the modes of study and routes taken.’
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCentre for Global Higher Education
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2022

Publication series

NameCentre for Global Higher Education working paper series
PublisherCentre for Global Higher Education
ISSN (Print)2398-564X


  • higher education
  • regulation
  • fair access
  • equality of opportunity
  • social mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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