Graduate Blog

New Report Suggests Divide between Rich & Poor at University has Reduced

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According to a report produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the gap between the richest and poorest students attending university has reduced. In the last five years, the percentage points have dropped from 40 to 37 in 2010.

The drop has primarily been seen since the increase in tuition fees which occurred in 2006. The report also suggests that new scholarship funds that are available for poorer students are too complicated.

Students who are from poorest fifth of the population will be far more likely to not attend university that those who are the richer groups of society.

Claire Crawford, author of the report, states that during 2004-05, only 12% of 18/19-year-olds who are in the poorer groups went to university, but this figure has risen to just below 18% in 2009-10. In the richest group, 52% attended university during the school year 2004-05, with this figure rising to 55% in 2009-10.

In this same five year period, there was a 4% increase in the number of state-school teenagers who chose to go to university, rising to 34%.

Speaking about the report, Claire Crawford commented: “University participation rates have been rising over time, more quickly for students from the poorest backgrounds. Whilst there was a small dip in participation following the increase in tuition fees in 2006-07, this was only temporary.

“This experience provides some hope that the drop in university applications observed this year – following the most recent increase in tuition fees – may not herald the start of a longer-term fall in participation rates.”

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