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 a 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).