Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales Working Paper Series 1, WAQNCW2013-1

Access to higher education (HE) has become an extremely controversial area of policy, as successive UK administrations have sought to balance increasing student fees with ensuring that HE is open to individuals from as wide a range of social backgrounds as possible. There have also been numerous initiatives that have sought to increase participation by disadvantaged groups, by raising levels of educational attainment or changing attitudes and aspirations in relation to HE (Gorard et al., 2007). Moreover, somewhat distinctive approaches have been adopted by the administrations in the different countries of the UK. This entails a complex set of circumstances; but also opens up the possibilities for fruitful ‘home international’ comparative analysis (Gallacher and Raffe, 2011).