Access and participation

At ARU we believe that it doesn’t matter where you come from, or what background you have, it’s about where you’re going and what you want to achieve. We’re committed to providing an excellent learning experience for all our students.

As part of our commitment, we’re registered with the Office for Students (OfS), which regulates higher education in England. Registration means that we meet OfS requirements for course quality, academic standards, student support, student protection and more.

Access and Participation Plan

Our Access and Participation Plan embodies our commitment to transforming lives through innovative, inclusive and entrepreneurial education. Our plan focusses on ARU making a positive impact on the lives of our students and the communities we serve and sets out how we'll promote equality of opportunity for all. It came into effect from September 2020 and replaced our previous Access and Participation Plan 2019-20.

Download our Access and Participation Plan 2020-21 to 2024-25

OfS monitor our progress against our Access and Participation Plan and have provided an Impact Report to summarise what we’ve achieved so far.

What we have achieved so far

Collaboration

Our students are at the heart of our university. Their passion and creativity make our community better. We know that working collaboratively with our students produces the best results and helps to transform the lives of the communities we live, work and study in.

Our Principles of Partnership with the Students’ Union (SU) state that collaboration and co-design is at the heart of what we do and our results from the latest National Student Survey (NSS) confirm that our students feel confident that their voice is heard.

We regularly draw on the experience of students from underrepresented groups to give us insight to their experiences. They work with us in paid employment to develop the support and resources that they need most to succeed.

We recruited Race Equality Advocates in 2019-20 for the first time and further advocates are being recruited at the start of the new academic year. They’ve shared resources, hosted events to help educate staff and students and to promote racial justice at ARU and have contributed to our new Race Equality Strategy, due to launch in November 2021.

We have also recruited Care Leaver interns to help support students who have experienced the foster care system or who are care-experienced to find out more about what this group of students need to reach their goals.

Reviewed our academic offering

We regularly review our academic regulations to make sure that no group of students is unfairly disadvantaged, and we have embedded inclusivity and opportunity into our active curriculum framework and assessment processes. In 2019-20 we began the development of Live Briefs, bringing employers into the classroom to tackle real world challenges, supporting our students to be career ready.

Enhanced our wellbeing support

The health and wellbeing of our community is our top priority. We have developed a Student Wellbeing Strategy, launched suicide awareness training, and introduced a new Personal Development Tutor (PDT) scheme. PDTs guide our students through their entire journey at ARU, supporting their ambitions and providing advice on academic progress, personal development, and general wellbeing.

How we responded to the challenges of COVID-19

The past academic year has been difficult, and the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all in different ways. To make sure we met our students’ needs, we developed a dedicated Student Partnership workstream to get rapid student feedback on the evolving situation and ARU’s response to the pandemic.

Many of our students faced financial hardship during the pandemic and we are proud to have been able to support them in 2019/20 by:

  • awarding £566K to students who applied for financial support
  • offering rent rebates for our accommodation (totalling £675K)
  • supporting students in self isolation financially
  • distributing 449 laptops to students who needed them.

To avoid anyone being disadvantaged by the rapid changes to teaching and education due to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, we introduced a No Detriment Policy in Trimesters 2 and 3 of 2019/20. We continued this support as the pandemic caused uncertainty and ongoing anxieties by implementing a Safety Net Policy for Trimesters 2 and 3 of 2020/21.

Despite COVID-19 challenges, we were able to meet our outreach targets with local schools by quickly changing to online delivery models in 2019/20.

Our Access and Participation Plan 2020/21 is supported by four other strategies:

Tuition fees

We have published our tuition fees for the 2022-23 academic year, both for ARU and our partner colleges. The document below has details.

Useful links:

Access agreements

From September 2019, new Access and Participation Plans replaced Access Agreements.

Our Access Agreements detailed fee levels, the financial support we offered to new students, and the measures we had in place to recruit students from under-represented groups.