University of Limerick
Access Office Progress Report 2020_2022 Final.pdf (2.03 MB)

Access Office Progress Report Providing Equity of Access in the times of Covid-19

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posted on 2024-03-05, 17:15 authored by Majka RyanMajka Ryan

The Access Office in UL was established in 1999. With its vision to widen access and participation in Higher Education, the key objective of the Access Office is to challenge educational, social, cultural and economic barriers endured by children and young adults affected by inequality and social exclusion. Since its inception, the Access Office has built sustainable routes to Higher Education, enabling equal access and completion of third-level education by marginalised communities. Among other important national and international best practice access and widening-participation policies, over the last few years, the work of the Access Office has been guided by the UL’s Equality and Human Rights Strategy 2019-2022 (in particular, Goal 4 - Educational Experience) and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (in particular, Goal 4 - Quality Education and Goal 10 - Reduced Inequalities).

The Access Office works to promote and support the access and participation of students from groups that have been traditionally under-represented in third-level and the University sector. The Access Office engages with students and their parents and guardians at all stages in the educational lifecycle: primary, secondary and tertiary. Through a range of pre-entry school and community initiatives and programmes and post-entry student success supports, the office assists young people under the age of twenty-three, to prepare for and ultimately enter the University through one of two Access routes: Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) and Access to University Course (AUC).

To inform its policies and everyday practices, the Access Office uses the concept of the Engagement Cycle. Accordingly, the core activities of the Access Office can be viewed through each phase of the cycle.

 Aspiration: Raising awareness of the possibilities of third-level education and reducing barriers to entry.

 Transitions: Providing clear pathways and flexible entry routes for students to enrol in higher education.

 Retention: Ensuring a range of supports are available throughout students' degree programmes to increase the likelihood of completion.

Overall, the work of the Access Office may be broadly categorised into three areas:

 Pre-entry school activities at both primary and second level.

 Post-entry students supports.

 Outreach work in the community.

This report speaks to the tremendous, coordinated effort of the Access Office staff and its educational and community partners to persist and succeed in delivering quality services to children and young adults in need of educational, financial and emotional assistance and intervention in the face of the challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.



Access Office, UL

Sustainable development goals

  • (4) Quality Education
  • (10) Reduced Inequality

Department or School

  • Work and Employment Studies

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