UCU says backgrounds should not hold back students

Tim Lezard

UCASThe gap between boys and girls going to university from the poorest backgrounds widened in the first year of the new tuition fees regime, according to new analysis released today.

The analysis of UCAS data by the Independent Commission of Fees shows women are now a third more likely to enter higher education than men and the gender gap seems to have widened since 2010.

The report also shows that students from the richest fifth of neighbourhoods are ten times more likely than those from the poorest fifth of neighbourhoods to go to one of the country’s most selective universities. Furthermore 20,000 more boys go to university each year from the two top fifth neighbourhoods than from the two bottom fifth neighbourhoods.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “This government has made it much harder for people to consider university and it is worrying that the number of boys from the poorest backgrounds going to university has fallen.

“We want the most talented individuals applying to the courses that best suit their talents. Their backgrounds should not be holding them back and nor should the cost of studying.”

Total acceptances to UK universities fell from 431,000 in 2011 to 407,391 in 2012 – a drop of 23,844 or by 5.5%, making UK acceptances the lowest since 2008. The numbers were also 4.1% down on 2010.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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