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News article

Improving access to university education

Published: 24 August 2017

  •   Community
  •    Students
  •    Vice Chancellor
Year 12 students in lecture theatre

Student ambassadors at York St John

The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has published its annual report detailing English universities’ commitment to improve access to higher education. Alongside other academic institutions, York St John University’s 2018-2019 access agreement includes plans to work with schools to raise attainment among disadvantaged pupils, supporting them to reach their full potential and overcome any barriers created by their circumstances.     

Vice Chancellor Professor Karen Stanton is a passionate advocate of ensuring access to life-long education.  “We welcome students from all backgrounds at York St John University, whether they are the first in their family to go into higher education, or from communities where university education is not the norm. I firmly believe that education is the bedrock of opportunity and nowhere is this truer than for those where education can unlock doors they thought were previously closed to them and provide a pathway to achieving their full potential”.

As an inclusive university where over a third of our undergraduate intake falls into the lowest family income bracket, York St John is steadfastly committed to enabling British black and ethnic minority students, mature students, students from lower socioeconomic groups and students from state school to access a high quality university education. As a result, our student entrant data reflects the actual 18 year old population in the UK, rather than the typical university population which has significantly more 18 year olds from higher HE participation neighbourhoods. 

In the OFFA report, data shows that York St John University spends approximately 30% of the higher fee income on increasing access and supporting student progression and success. In accordance with our values, we will reinvest a significant proportion of our additional income from the fees we receive above the basic rate of £6,000 into bursaries, outreach activities and supporting student retention.

Our extensive outreach work includes the Imagining Futures project with the traveller community where we worked in partnership with the City of York Council and four local primary schools to raise aspirations and introduce the idea and possibility of going to university to children who might not have thought it was possible.  

York St John University is also part of Higher York, a partnership between Askham Bryan College, City of York Council, the University of York and York College which actively facilitates access to higher-level learning in the region.

Further information on widening participation activities at York St John can be found on our student recruitment webpages.  


Contact us

Communications team

York St John University, Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7EX

01904 876 466

To contact us out of hours, phone 07812 365 499