A report by the Further Education Development Agency shows that residents from the inner city are no more likely to drop out than other students.
Moreover, the majority of these residents have a good opinion of further education colleges and believe that continuing education could help them fulfil their ambitions.
The report, Widening participation on inner-city estates, is based on a survey carried out among residents of three inner-city council estates, two in London, and one in Liverpool.
Adjei Barwuah, one of the authors, said: "Most people on the estates had heard about college or adult education, and thought well of it. And once they are on a course they tend to stay until the end.
"But a high proportion of residents did not get any qualifications at school and did not expect to attend an FE college. It shows that colleges need to do more than publicise provision. To provide a real stepping-stone they need to deliver learning on people's doorsteps."
The survey found that more than half of those questioned said they had been encouraged to attend continuing education. The most powerful barriers to access, says the report, are attitude and expectation. "Education is simply not part of the value system and behaviour pattern of a disturbingly large number of people."
Widening participation on inner-city estates is available from FEDA publications at pound;3.50. Tel 0171 840 5400 or fax 0171 840 5401.