Information for Schools

Developed in collaboration with


This service has been developed through a collaboration between The Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), Bursary Assessment Associates (BAA), Independent Schools Council (ISC) and Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The service is specifically for schools in the independent sector who are supporting pupils from financially less advantaged backgrounds to make applications to university through the UCAS.


Since summer 2021 UCAS has been able to supply individualised FSM data to universities, but owing to the way the data is collected (via the National Pupil Database), the process currently provides data for pupils educated in maintained sector settings only. This service has been designed to ensure that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds who are attending independent schools can benefit from the same treatment in terms of consideration for contextualised offer-making in University Admissions departments, as their peers in the state-maintained sector.

This information is intended to support the application of each pupil to match what is currently provided for pupils from the maintained sector. It should however be noted that provision of this information via UCAS is no guarantee that a contextual offer will be made, as this is the decision of the University in accordance with their own policies.

About the service:

The service will be provided via subscription and is available to all independent schools through BAA.

The cost of the annual subscription is as follows:

  • 10 credits = £549 plus VAT.
  • 5 credits = £299 plus VAT.

What is included in the annual subscription? 

  • Welcome pack for Schools including online form and guidance notes for families
  • Help desk support for families
  • Secure authentication of FSM eligibility
  • Secure provision of data to ISC/UCAS in the required format
  • Anonymised reports for schools
  • 5 or 10 validation credits

BAA will complete data verification checks which will independently validate whether a pupil attending an independent school would have been eligible for FSM.

This will be based on a declaration submitted by the parent/guardian of the pupil and validated using the equivalent thresholds applied for pupils meeting the criteria for FSM in the maintained sector.

CDS information for schools

What happens if a family does not have the supporting evidence to prove they were eligible for Ever 6 FSM/ benefits?

Regretfully without the supporting evidence, it will not be possible to validate their application. For this reason, schools should consider early communication of the scheme to families currently in lower years to ensure they understand they need to retain this evidence.

Whose responsibility will it be to inform the parent/carer in the event of the application not meeting the threshold?

Parents will receive a communication from BAA confirming completion of the validation process and the outcome. In the event that it hasn’t been possible to validate due to missing information, the family will be informed by BAA of what additional information they need to send to complete the process, They will then have one opportunity to resubmit.

What technical support will parents/carers attempting to complete the form have access to?

Families can email or call BAA for support.

How quickly will applicants be informed of the outcome of the verification process?

The communication back to applicants will be an automated part of the process and therefore as soon as the application has been validated, they will receive feedback.

Is it voluntary to subscribe? 


Is there a maximum/minimum number of potentially eligible pupils that a school must have in order to subscribe for this service?


How will the data be handled/processed?

The detailed application information and supporting evidence will only be seen by BAA who will use this solely for the purposes of validating the application. This will then be summarised and communicated to ISC who may undertake checks before submitting to UCAS.

Is the process General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant?

Yes, there will be a Data Sharing agreement in place between BAA, ISC and UCAS.

Will the process account for the differences in eligibility criteria in Scotland, Wales and NI? 

Yes, the form will apply different criteria depending on the home address of the parent making the application.

How, and by whom, will applicants be notified of the outcome of the validation process?

The communication back to applicants will be an automated part of the process and therefore as soon as the application has been validated, they will receive feedback via BAA.


FAQ’s for schools

If you don’t see an answer to your question here, please contact us by phone or email.

Is it possible to purchase credits individually? (I.e. for fewer than 10 pupils)

Yes, for 2024 it is possible to purchase credits in two bundles:

5 credits = £299 + VAT.

10 credits = £549 + VAT.


How will we know which pupils reach the threshold?

For ease of reference, we have added the links to the current thresholds for the devolved UK nations later in this document. Whilst the most obvious starting point will be your current bursary cohort, pupils who may qualify will be much wider. This is because the threshold covers Ever 6 FSM. This means that schools may not always know who would qualify and for this reason it is advised that they communicate this scheme as widely as possible.

What does Ever 6 FSM mean?

In the context of this program, it refers to pupils who either have been eligible, or under different circumstances would have qualified for FSM in any of the six years prior to their application for Higher Education.

Who do I contact with further questions before subscribing?

Please send your question to  

What are the thresholds/benefits under consideration for FSM?

These are different for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and are updated from time to time, the most recent information can be found at:


Northern Ireland




Will the School be informed of the outcome for each family?

The school will be informed of validated applications so that they can include this information in the applicants reference.


Will UCAS be informed of validated and unvalidated applications?

No, UCAS will only be provided with the summarised information of those pupils whose application has been validated. No information will be transferred about any pupils whose application was not validated.


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