The access gap at England’s most selective universities will almost halve in the next five years if universities meet the ambitious new commitments they have made on equal opportunities, according to a new report from the higher education regulator.
Young people from the most advantaged areas of England are currently over six times as likely to attend one of the most selective universities – including Oxford, Cambridge and other members of the Russell Group – as those from the most disadvantaged areas, and this gap has hardly changed despite a significant expansion in the number of university places available.
At the rates of progress forecast under universities’ new plans, the ratio would be less than 4:1 by 2025, and the gap could be eliminated entirely within 20 years.
This would mean around 6,500 extra students from the most disadvantaged areas attending these universities each year from 2024-25 onwards.
You can read the full press release from the Office for Students here.