Aimhigher was discontinued on 31 July 2011. This paper reviews the literature analysing its contribution to widening participation to higher education in the UK. Successes of Aimhigher are considered alongside its challenges; particularly the necessity to situate policy within the diverse demands of 42 areas covering England. These issues are considered in the context of wider contemporary debates concerning the quality of research into widening participation and instruments used to evaluate policy. Four strands of literature are identified and analysed: Aimhigher’s impact and evaluation, its effectiveness in targeting beneficiaries, the progression and tracking of students and policy.