As part of NEON’s commitment to providing current research for the widening access community, we are continuously working on a range of research projects.

GCSE Attainment Project
In 2015-16, NEON managed and coordinated a successful bid by the University of Leicester for a research project under the HEFCE NNCO project funding. This project aimed to understand why certain schools and colleges, despite having large numbers of disadvantaged learners, have a higher level of participation in higher education than predicted by their GCSE attainment. The project ran until December 2016.

Does Cost Matter? 2015
In 2014-15, NEON undertook a major piece of work to explore why despite the increase in tuition fees the participation of those from low participation neighbourhoods has not declined. The research looked at the HE application intentions of year 13 students from both low, and ‘non-low’ participation backgrounds to explore the role of cost in their HE decision making and if indeed ‘cost does not matter’. It had a sample size of 1500 learners and was launched in April 2015.

Does Cost Matter? 2016
In 2015-16, NEON undertook ‘Does Cost Matter 2?’ in partnership with the University College Union (UCU). This research enabled NEON to contribute to the debate surrounding access to higher education policy and cost. It also strengthened the work that member HEIs/organisations can do in their local area by enhancing their understanding of the learners they serve.

Does Cost Matter? 2017
NEON has released the latest preliminary findings in the third cycle of their ‘Does Cost Matter?’ research project. The research carried out over the last 3 years with over 4000 participants shows how the high cost student finance system is forcing would-be students to make choices that could increase their risk of dropping out and under-performing in HE. The Does Cost Matter research series has included young students from over 200 post-16 providers from across the country.

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NEON is the new professional organisation supporting those involved in widening access to higher education (HE).

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