Thursday, May 23Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Most Disadvantaged Teenagers Less Likely to go to University than Ever Before

Recent reports regarding access to higher education suggests that those from disadvantaged areas in the UK are less likely to attend university. Louise Jones finds out more…

Teenagers from the most disadvantaged areas of the UK are four times less likely to apply for university than those from more well off backgrounds, official figures have revealed.

Statistics suggest a young person’s chances of applying for an undergraduate course depend heavily on where they live, with the number of those planning to go on to higher education falling in some areas of the country.

The analysis follows concerns raised over a lack of social mobility within education, with the gap between rich and poor students being granted university places reaching record highs last year. With recent media attention given to the conservative government’s new ‘Grammar School’ structure this is but another way that will no doubt widen that gap.

New analysis of UCAS data by the Press Association reveals that on average this year, 55 per cent of 18-year-olds living in the top 10 per cent of parliamentary constituencies in terms of university applications applied for a degree course by the main January 15 deadline.

By contrast, just 24 per cent of those living in the bottom 10 per cent of constituencies had applied by the same point.

The statistics according to the Independent’s article also show that ‘the highest application rate was in the Conservative-held seat of Wimbledon, south-west London, where 70.3 per cent of eligible students applied to go to university’, where ’at the other end of the scale, in Havant, Hampshire, also a Conservative seat, the application rate was 17.4 per cent’.

Laura Lewis current Vice President of Welfare and Diversity comment that ‘We should all be concerned by the reports that teenagers from the most disadvantaged areas of the UK are four times less likely to apply for university. Higher education should be accessible to everyone, and not dependent on systematic class issues. The government’s decision to increase university fees and remove grants from the most disadvantaged students has had a clear impact on the numbers of young people applying for university – these people are already economically disadvantaged, and this gap will only continue to grow if the government does not support them’.

More 18-year-olds were offered university places in 2016 than ever before, with entry levels among all social groups increasing overall over the past 10 years. But while the number of students from more affluent backgrounds has climbed steadily, places offered to those from the poorest of society have stalled in the past year.

Latest UCAS figures show the vast majority of constituencies have seen a rise in applications since 2007, but 13 are experiencing a marked decrease in the last decade ago.