Gaining access


This report assesses the progress made by elite universities in their attempts to improve access for disadvantaged full-time students. By ranking 29 elite universities in England, it charts the average annual increase in the proportion of disadvantaged students from 2012-13 to 2016-17. This table is an update from last year’s table based on data from 2011-12 to 2015-16. It shows that over the five-year period, there has been little improvement in the proportion of disadvantaged students attending these universities. The report shows that there has been little improvement in access figures. Across the entire university sector, 12 per cent of UK students came from a low-participation neighbourhood in 2016-17 – the same proportion as 2015-16. According to UCAS data, the most advantaged students are 3.8 times more likely to enter higher education. The report recommends a breakdown of access spending by universities to better inform funding decisions; a more effective measure of disadvantage to better assess universities’ efforts in increasing the intake of disadvantaged students; and a national campaign to encourage disadvantaged students to apply to elite universities.

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