What is it? Programmes of student support refers to sustained programmes of engagement (for example, via course modules or events) designed to improve retention and success among students from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

Evidence? Currently we do not have enough evidence on the effectiveness of these programmes. Most of the existing evidence compares outcomes for students who have participated in such programmes with comparator groups of students who have not. Although these studies all suggest a positive correlation between participation and retention/competition, they cannot tell us for sure that the programmes are having the desired impact or the size of this effect.

Should HEPs run programmes of post-entry support to improve student success? Since these programmes tend to be large-scale, high-cost interventions, providers should seek to embed evaluation to understand the extent to which they impact student outcomes– see the TASO evaluation guidance for more information on how to do this. Providers should also seek to build an understanding of which elements are most effective.