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Universities: Admissions

Question for Department for Education

UIN 274476, tabled on 8 July 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made an assessment of how the sharing with universities of additional indicators of applicants’ disadvantage and under-representation in higher education could enable universities to make further progress on increasing access and participation among disadvantaged applicants.

Answered on

15 July 2019

Widening access and participation in higher education (HE) is a priority for the government. This means that everyone with the capability to succeed in HE should have the opportunity to participate, regardless of their background.

The government has made progress in ensuring universities are open to all, with record rates of disadvantaged 18 year olds in HE. However, we are aware that more needs to be done to support access and participation in HE, so it is vital that we continue to build on this progress.

HE providers need to use good quality and meaningful data to identify disadvantage and under-representation in order to effectively address disparities in access and participation in HE.

We encourage institutions to use a range of measures to identify disadvantage and under-representation, including individual-level indicators, area data (such as Participation of Local Areas data, Index of Multiple Deprivation or ACORN), school data, intersectional data such as the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service's (UCAS) Multiple Equality Measure and participation in outreach activities. The department is continuing to work with the Office for Students, UCAS and sector representatives to further explore how we can support universities to improve and enhance access to data.