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Why Widening Participation in Higher Education is Vital

Black and Asian students and those from less privileged backgrounds face a struggle to be accepted into the university of their choice according to new statistics released by UCAS. Widening Participation in Higher Education is Vital.

Although in the last five years the number of disadvantaged young people in full time higher education has risen, the number of students from more privileged backgrounds is still much larger.

Widening Participation is an attempt by the government to increase the number of young people entering higher education, especially those from under-represented groups such as the ones below:

  • Ethnic minority background
  • Little or no family history of higher education
  • From a low income/low participation area
  • Disabled
  • Looked after by a local authority
  • Students who are estranged from their family
  • Mature students
  • Young carers

This year The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) introduced the new National Collaborative Outreach Programme, with funding set at £60 million per annum in the hopes of increasing the number of students from BAME and less privileged backgrounds by 20%.

The funds are there for higher education providers to develop a strategic approach to widening participation and support the additional costs of recruiting and supporting these students.

According to a report published by The Guardian, just 36% of ethnic minority applicants to all Russell Group universities were offered places. It is vital that our universities realise that more needs to be done to widen access and ensure progression and success for all students.


If you would like to learn how you can gain practical advice on implementing an effective access program to increase the retention and attainment of students from key target groups, speak to a member of our team to find out the date of the next course; call 0800 542 9440 or email [email protected]