The Nuffield Foundation: Analysing the socio-economic gaps in higher education

The Nuffield Foundation recently hosted a seminar to promote findings from a research project it funded that investigated what drives the socio-economic gaps in higher education. Key findings include the fact that the gap at HE can be entirely explained by differences in attainment at age 16, so it is crucial to focus on increasing the GCSE attainment of students from poorer backgrounds if the higher education gap is to be reduced.

The researchers also found large socio-economic differences in who attends ‘high status’ institutions, and highlighted the importance of continuing to support students from lower socio-economic backgrounds once they arrive at university. For example, students from poorer backgrounds are less likely to complete their degrees and to achieve a first or 2:1 than students from richer backgrounds, even if they study the same course and enter the university with the same A level grades. Read More