More people from disadvantaged backgrounds are entering higher education


This is the fourth wave of data released by UCAS. It reported that Scotland had the highest number of 18-year olds entering higher education in 2017 (measured using the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation which ranks small geographical areas in Scotland by their relative level of deprivation). The entry rate for the most deprived areas had the largest increase, rising by 16.2 per cent proportionally to 12.3 per cent, which is the highest value on record. This increase, coupled with a fall in the entry rate from the most advantaged areas, meant the ratio of entry between students from the most advantaged areas to those from the most deprived areas, fell to 3.3% this year. 

In England, the number of disadvantaged 18-year olds rose by 0.2% to 13.8%. Given that overall the entry rates from more advantaged groups increased to 53.1%, it’s worth noting that the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged 18-year old entries remained largely unchanged.

Other top line stats were as follows:

  • Just over 1.9 million offers for applications made through UCAS before the 30 June deadline (2nd highest)
  • Offer rates increased for all age groups, with 18-year olds more likely to receive an offer than ever before.
  • 5.3% of the offers to 18-year olds were unconditional
  • Attainment against predicted A level grades fell, despite attainment among A level students remaining largely stable.
  • The entry rate for 18-year olds in the Black ethnic group rose by 3.2% to 40.4%
  • The White ethnic group had the lowest entry rate of 29.3 per cent (a 1.5 per cent increase from last year), meaning the proportional gap between the White ethnic group and all other ethnic groups increased in 2017. 

Clare Marchant, Chief Executive of UCAS, said: ‘UCAS’ Multiple Equality Measure (MEM) provides a unique way to evaluate progress in widening participation to higher education, taking account of different kinds of equality factors such as sex, ethnic group, and socioeconomic background. Although our analysis shows that a record number of disadvantaged young people have entered higher education this year – with the greatest increase at higher tariff providers – gaps in participation remain wide. While increases in attainment are the key to making more progress, it is also timely to look at other levers such as greater use of contextual data’.


Monday, 18 December 2017

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More people from disadvantaged backgrounds are entering higher education