What is it? Financial support includes grants, bursaries, scholarships and fee-waivers. When offered after entry to HE, it is designed to help students succeed on-course by alleviating the financial costs of studying.

Evidence? There is a high-quality body of evidence that finds financial support can have a positive impact on retention/completion in HE. However, most of the existing research comes from the USA and more evidence is needed on the impact of financial support in the current UK context.

Should HEPs use financial support to improve student success? There is a reasonable evidence base to support the use of needs-based grants to promote retention/completion. There is less strong evidence that this approach can improve attainment/degree classification. This support should be needs-based (i.e. based on financial background) rather than merit-based (i.e. based on prior attainment).