Inequality in the highest degree?

Think tank: The Sutton Trust

Author(s): Paul Wakeling; José Luis Mateos-González

June 24, 2021

This report from UK think tank the Sutton Trust looks at postgraduates, prices and participation.

When it comes to social mobility, the goalposts are always moving. As access to any given level of education becomes more common, inequalities tend to move upwards, with those from better-off backgrounds seeking to keep their advantages. While access to undergraduate degrees has been improving, with more and more young people going onto university, there is now a risk that postgraduate degrees become the new frontier of social mobility, with better-off graduates using higher degrees to differentiate themselves in a competitive job market. This report, authored by Paul Wakeling and José Luis Mateos-González from the University of York, investigates access to postgraduate education in the UK, looking at the level of financial support available across the nations, the impact of the introduction of postgraduate loans on access in England, the growing cost of postgraduate degrees, and the likely impact of those costs on access.