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The widening socio-economic gap in UK higher education

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The gap between rich and poor, in terms of higher education participation, has widened during the 1990s says new research by LSE academics.

The Widening Socio-economic Gap in UK Higher Education is by Fernando Galindo-Rueda| and Oscar Marcenaro-Gutierrez|, Centre for Economic Performance and the Centre for the Economics of Education at LSE, and Dr Anna Vignoles|, Institute of Education and Centre for the Economics of Education.

The paper considers the socio-economic gap in higher education participation, for the period spanning the introduction of tuition fees, and assesses whether the gap has widened, and if this gap emerges on entry into university or much earlier in the education system. The authors conclude that there is a growing socio-economic gap in UK higher education and that this gap occurs well before entry into higher education. 

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Press coverage

BBC News Online (5 July 2004)
University 'class gap widening'
The gap between the proportions of middle-class and working-class children almost doubled between 1994-5 and 2001-2, researchers say. Tuition fees, introduced in 1998 in England and Wales, had failed to deter middle-class young people entering higher education, says the study by London University's Institute of Education and LSE.

THES (2 July 2004)
P 1. Class gap widens under Blair
The class divide in UK higher education widened during Tony Blair's first term in office as the children of Middle England reaped the benefits of university expansion, new research reveals. Anna Vignoles of the IoE, who conducted the research with Fernado Galindo-Rueda and Oscar Marcenaro-Gutierrez of the LSE, said: "The message is that things are getting better, everybody is more likely to go into higher education, but the gap between rich and poor is widening.  

P 4. Intervene pre-GCSE, study says (2 July 2004)
Helping raise the attainment and aspiration of pupils before they sit their GCSEs will have a greater effect on their likelihood of going to university than intervening later in their schooling, research suggest. Academics at LSE and the Institute of Education have studied the higher education participation rates for each UK postcode and how GCSE attainment and social class affected the likelihood of pupils to continue their studies. Comments from Anna Vignoles, on the of the research authors. (no direct link/ subscription required http://www.thes.co.uk| 

Also mentioned in The Times 

2 July 2004