A major challenge to securing lifelong learning is the response of universities and their funding bodies. In the UK, the Government has set out a clear commitment to change; this has been reflected in the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) establishing a policy, planning and specific funding strategy with universities having to set out their policies, approaches and targets to widen participation. This is then measured through success in meeting those targets and published performance indicators. Attached to this approach is a funding stream which enables institutions to put into place actions to ensure success. This paper is based upon the work of the HEFCE national co-ordination team for widening participation (Action on Access), which has the responsibility of assisting achievement against the strategy. The paper will explain the HEFCE approach, compare it with a similar and earlier Australian strategy and demonstrate how institutional success is to be measured. There is always a risk that single item approaches become marginalized within a university as being the responsibility of a particular interest group. This development has been in response to Government direction, has the potential to shape and change institutions so that they become more inclusive; but does the policy add up?
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