Eligibility criteria

To achieve the most impact from our Widening Participation programme, we ask that schools/colleges and students meet certain criteria.

School applications

In order to be eligible for our ‘school applies’ projects, schools must be non-selective and state funded. This applies to the following programmes: ACE / ACE High; Introduction to the Social Sciences; Introduction to the Pathways Programmes; Mentoring and Tutoring.

We will prioritise London state schools and colleges that meet one or more of the following:

  • Perform below the national average at GCSE, based on the Attainment 8 measure (below 44.4).
  • Have a high proportion (more than 25%) of pupils eligible for free school meals
  • Perform below the national average (32.29 points) at A-level based on the points per entry measure

We will make our final decisions based upon a rounded assessment of all relevant factors provided by the school in addition to the above. To maximise the impact of activity we ask schools to select, where possible, individuals who would meet the criteria listed below.

Individual applications

To be eligible for our Widening Participation projects, applicants must attend a non-selective London (or area commutable to London) state school or college. These projects are: Black Achievement Conference; LSE CHOICE; Promoting Potential; Politics Conference; LSE Compass and the Management Masterclass.

Many of our programmes are over-subscribed. We prioritise applicants using the following criteria:


Attending a school/college that is performing below the national average and/or has a high proportion of students eligible for free school meals.

Family background

  • Eligible for free school meals and/or pupil premium now or in the last six years
  • No parental experience of higher education (neither parent has a degree qualification)
  • Parents/carers working in low socio-economic classification jobs and/or on receipt of means tested benefits
  • Undertakes caring responsibility for a family member (a ‘young carer’)


We use the following three postcode measures to assess areas of disadvantage:

  • Living in an area of low progression to higher education (as defined by POLAR4 quintile 1 or 2) as determined by home postcode
  • From Acorn groups LMOPQ as determined by home postcode
  • From Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) or Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) quintiles 1 or 2 as determined by home postcode

Specific groups under-represented in higher education

  • Students with a disability
  • From an ethnic background currently under-represented at highly selective universities such as LSE; especially Black African, Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi, Pakistani.
  • From a white working class background
  • From a Gypsy, Roma, or Traveller community
  • Young people who are care experienced or estranged from their family
  • Forced migrants (accompanied or unaccompanied) including refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC), persons granted humanitarian protection and limited / discretionary leave to remain and stateless persons
  • Children of military families

Academic requirements

Please note that some schemes have additional academic criteria such as attainment requirements or subject requirements. Where these exist they are detailed against the individual schemes. 

Pathways Programmes

Eligibility criteria for the Pathways to Law and Pathways to Banking and Finance programmes are set by the Sutton Trust. Please see the Sutton Trust programme web pages for full information. 

We review applications holistically; while we prioritise students who meet the above criteria, we will consider all the information contained in an application when making our decisions. For this reason, we encourage applicants and schools/colleges to include any further relevant details - such as any additional information or extenuating circumstances - that they feel ought to be considered in assessing an application. This could include disruption to the applicant’s education due to, for example, a serious illness or bereavement.


In offering activities to any school or college we must be confident we are meeting requirements laid out under the widening participation agenda as defined and regulated by the Office for Students.

The outcome of any WP scheme decision is not an indication of eligibility to, or likelihood of, receiving a place to study at LSE in the future. For more information about LSE’s Undergraduate courses and applications to study at LSE please see the UG admissions policy.


Contact us

Email: widening.participation@lse.ac.uk
Tel: 020 7849 4907

Teachers are invited to:

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