What is it? Information, advice and guidance (IAG) is an umbrella term for support that helps students make informed choices about education options. IAG is primarily factual in nature, as opposed to approaches that aim to influence aspirations or foster a sense of belonging in higher education (HE).

Evidence? There are a handful of robust research studies on the impact of light-touch forms of IAG (for example, text messages, in-school presentations). These studies show that IAG can have a small positive effect on attitudes/aspirations and on HE participation. However, the provision of financial information leads to more mixed results.

Should HE providers use IAG to widen participation? IAG is generally a low-cost intervention which has a positive but small impact on attitudes/aspirations and HE participation. It is likely that this kind of approach only impacts participation for students who were already at the margin of applying to HE. There is evidence that IAG should be accompanied by personalised support to be truly effective, and that financial information alone may be ineffective.  Therefore, IAG is a low-cost approach that should be used to supplement other more intensive activity.