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More BAME uni applications

THE FUTURE: University is becoming a more realistic and accessible option for BAME people

UNIVERSITY applications from black and minority ethnic students rose to record highs last year according to equalities data from admissions body Ucas.

Equalities data from Ucas showed that there was a seven per cent rise in students from Asian, black, mixed and other ethnic minority backgrounds applying to higher tariff universities between 2016 and 2017. That means that 15,520 ethnic minority students aged 18 applied to top universities during this period.

However, there was a slight dip in white students applying to top universities: 64,035 compared to 64,260 in 2016 – a dip of 0.9 per cent. Overall, figures for 132 UK universities show 183,620 white students entered last year, compared with 29,355 Asian students, 12,630 black students and 10,590 students from a mixed ethnic background.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, suggested the slowdown in white students aiming for top institutions may be down to aspiration, and called for the gap to be tackled.

ASPIRATION

He said: “I think there is a problem of aspiration and also of wherewithal.

“In other words, some people have low aspirations and some people with high aspirations just don’t know how to convert them into something meaningful because they lack advice on how to do so.”

Hillman continued: “This is obviously a very sensitive area and one where it is easy to offend people’s sensitivities.

“But if one part of society is particularly susceptible to educational disadvantage, it needs to be robustly tackled whoever and wherever it is.”

Figures also show that entry into higher education is at a record high for both men and women, but the difference between the sexes grew for the sixth year in a row.

Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant said: “It’s important that those applying to university are confident that their applications will be considered on the basis of their merits. Our data shows overall, admissions are fair.

“Applicants from all backgrounds receive offers at rates which closely match the average for applicants to similar courses, with similar predicted grades. However, these data also show that, while progress continues to be made in widening participation, particularly at universities with a higher entry tariff, large disparities remain between the groups entering higher education generally, and at individual universities and colleges.

“Overall, men, people living in neighbourhoods with low entry rates to higher education, and the white ethnic group, are the least likely to enter university. However, this is not the case at every provider.

“The portfolio of subjects offered, and the demographics of a local population, can be important factors in patterns of entry rates.”

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