What is the APP?

The Access and Participation Plan (APP) is a government document that is sent to the Office for Students (OfS) by all Higher Education (HE) providers. It is a ‘plan’, written by the university’s governing body that sets out the different ways that a university is going to improve the equality of opportunity for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The APP considers access in three parts: admission to the university, the success for students during their studies and the students' progress to employment following university.  

The APP functions as a binding document for the university that commits the institution to the plan for the following four years. Once it has been approved by the OfS, the APP allows a university to charge its course fees for teaching students. In this way, by committing to improving access, a university is allowed to set its own teaching fees.  

In order to set their fees, a university must have an Access and Participation Plan.  


What is the role of the Student Union in the APP? 

Universities should involve students and listen to them when they put together their APP. 

Usually, universities do this by using the Student Union to connect with diverse groups of students. can work with the university by collaborating with them shape the groups that the APP targets and the initiatives that the university is planning to endorse to promote equality of opportunity for these students.  

Secondly, a Student Union can also write a separate commentary from university’s submission. In the commentary, the Student Union  

  1. How effectively students have been engaged with the University’s APP 
  2. How confident are students that they will be involved in the delivery and evaluation of the APP 
  3. Has the university identified the greatest risks to equality of opportunity  
  4. The credibility of the initiatives that have been outlined by the university improve access across admissions, on course success and progression from university. 


What is Oxford SU’s planned approach?  

The student point of contact for the APP is the Vice President for Undergraduate Access and Education (Jenni Lynam) who you can contact at any time for information on the Su’s involvement here vpugedu@oxfordsu.ox.ac.uk 

The student point of contact will be attending the university's APP meetings throughout Hilary term 2024. 

If you are interested in getting more involved in shaping the APP, the SU is creating a Student APP working group which you can apply to be a part of! This group will bring students together to discuss the APP and influence the university's plan as well as the SU’s own submission!  

Following an initial meeting with the university, the Student Union’s APP working groups will consist of many different student reps. These will include: 

  • Black student’s rep 
  • Disabled student’s rep 
  • Care-experienced student’s rep 
  • Estranged student’s rep 
  • Five undergraduate divisional reps (Medical Sciences, Social Sciences, MPLS, Humanities and The Department for Continuing Education) 
  • Four general student reps  

These student reps have been identified as some key target groups that the university’s APP will include.  

If you would like to be apart of the working group, you can apply for one of the rep roles here


How else can I get involved in the APP? 

Even if you are not directly involved through the APP working group, we are keen to hear what student’s think should be included in the APP. You can get in touch anytime with the student lead at vpugedu@oxfordsu.ox.ac.uk  

Alongside the working group, the SU will also be facilitating a general student survey to give students the space to express their ideas on university access which will feed into the APP.  


What are the deadlines? 

  • University's First draft: 1st March 2024 (HT week 7) 
  • University's Final draft: 3rd May (TT week 3) 
  • Deadline for university and SU submission: End of May