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University of York

Case Study
University of Opportunity Feasibility Study

Halpin Partnership was commissioned in September 2022 by the University of York to undertake a feasibility study to assist the University in becoming ‘The University of Opportunity’. The University of York (‘the University’, ‘York’, ‘UoY’) recently launched its new ‘Strategy for 2030’. The overarching vision of the strategy is to become a University for Public Good, and, as such, the access and participation agenda is core to many of the University’s aims and objectives. One of the key commitments from the strategy is that York ‘will not accept gaps in continuation, progression and award across the diversity of our student cohorts at any stage in the student lifecycle and will act to close such gaps where they appear’. The purpose of the project was to identify students that could benefit from additional support, to consider what types of support are required and what could be provided, and to identify how alumni and donors could help.

The work undertaken on the project focused largely on exploring what financial support is needed for disadvantaged students to thrive at York. What will help them not just attend, but also succeed and progress? We used the following methodology:

  • leadership and staff meetings × 20
  • a total of 10 days’ planning research and analysis
  • focus groups × 4
  • meeting with the Opportunity Study Group to discuss emerging themes
  • phase one report
  • presentation to the Opportunity Study Group and University Senior Leadership Team
  • impact review (6 months post study).


  • A set of realistic but advanced fundraising targets
  • A set of 11 recommendations regarding the student experience in general
  • A list of cross-cutting interventions that could benefit from alumni or donor support
  • An in-depth definition and exploration of student groups beyond the main student groups that the OfS mandates
  • In-depth analysis of TEF data