New figures reveal dearth of poor students at Russell Group universities

Students from most disadvantaged fifth of areas of UK account for just 6.2 per cent of Russell Group intake in 2017

Will Hazell

New figures suggest that it is a 'buyer's market' for students applying to university

Today, universities admissions body UCAS has published statistics for students entering higher education in 2017.

The figures show that there's still a big gap in representation between those from advantaged areas compared to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

At the 24 prestigious Russell Group institutions, on average only 6.2 per cent of the 2017 intake came from the most disadvantaged fifth of areas in the UK.

At King's College London, it was just 3.5 per cent. The University of Liverpool had the highest share of students from these backgrounds, accounting for 9.8 per cent of its cohort.

University % of 18-year-olds entering university from most disadvantaged fifth of UK areas in 2017 (2016)
King's College London 3.5 (4.8)
University of Glasgow 3.6 (4.1)
Imperial College London 3.8 (3.9)
University of Edinburgh 3.9 (3.5)
University College London 4 (4.3)
University of Oxford 4.1 (3.4)
Queen Mary University of London 4.6 (4.2)
University of Bristol 4.7 (3.3)
University of Cambridge 5 (2.9)
Queen's University Belfast 5.6 (5.1)
Durham University 5.8 (5.4)
London School of Economics and Political Science 6.2 (6.5)
University of Warwick 6.4 (5.6)
University of Nottingham 6.4 (6.3)
University of Birmingham 6.7 (6.7)
University of Southampton  7.1 (6.5)
University of Exeter 7.5 (5.1)
University of York 7.6 (7.8)
University of Leeds 7.7 (7.7)
University of Manchester 8.4 (8)
University of Sheffield 8.9 (7.9)
Newcastle University 8.9 (8.8)
Cardiff University 8.9 (8.9)
University of Liverpool 9.8 (9.3)

A King’s College London spokesperson said: ‘King’s College London has developed a clear and ambitious programme of widening participation activity to meet our vision to be the most inclusive Russell Group institution by 2029. We take a holistic approach to admissions, considering learners’ backgrounds, contexts and individual experiences when making offers.

"We have consistently met the milestones we commit to with the Office for Fair Access and in the past five years we have made significant progress in recruiting students from state schools (up from 70 per cent to 75 per cent), students from BME backgrounds (up from 38 per cent to 48 per cent) and areas of high levels of deprivation.

"Individual learners achieving while facing challenging circumstances may not be classified as in the lowest POLAR quintile [the measure used by UCAS]. For a number of years, King’s has used alternative indicators which provide a more nuanced understanding."

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Will Hazell

Will Hazell

Will Hazell is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @whazell

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