Framework for student access, retention, attainment and progression in higher education

This framework* has been designed by the HEA to support institutions and individuals in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to succeed in higher education (HE), and to develop skills, knowledge and attributes to make successful transitions into, through and beyond HE, including further study, training and employment or self-employment.

The framework defines key areas of focus in meeting this aspiration – access, retention, attainment and progression. Students’ sense of belonging, partnership and inclusion are essential for achieving these aims, requiring a culture which promotes and enables the full and equitable participation of all students in HE.   

Because these areas of focus are the responsibility of all staff, this framework is essential reading for a wide audience, operating at the sector, institutional, faculty/school, departmental or programme level.

Adaptable and flexible to meet your needs

Student access, retention, attainment and progression are the responsibility of all staff and this framework, modelled on the UK Professional Standards Framework, can be applied in different ways depending on your context. 

We provide a complementary toolkit to support you in applying it in  policy and practice. 

We also provide consultancy to support you in applying this and our other frameworks across your institution and/or embedding them at a programme level. 

Request the frameWORKS series

* Thanks are due to participants on the HEA’s Retention and Attainment Strategic Enhancement Programme, participants of previous programmes and the authors of successive HEA publications and programmes whose work informed this framework.

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