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Higher Education: Admissions

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what recent research his Department has commissioned on the aspirations of children in secondary school to go on to higher education; (276893)

(2) what proportion of people leaving school whose parents are in socio-economic groups D and E entered higher education in the last year for which information is available.

DIUS recently commissioned research as part of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (Next Steps) and the Youth Cohort Study. This covers over 11,000 16 and 17-year-olds, many of whom are at school and college, and includes questions about their attitudes towards higher education including views of its costs and benefits, intentions regarding applying for places, and awareness of financial aspects, subject preferences and other aspects of higher education. We expect that the report will be published in late June 2009.

Information held on higher education students shows whether they are from socio- economic classes 1-7.

In 2006/07, the proportion of 18 to 20-year-olds from the top three socio-economic classes who participated for the first time in full-time higher education was provisionally 39.5 per cent. The proportion from the bottom four socio-economic classes was provisionally 19.0 per cent.

These figures cover English-domiciled 18 to 20-year-olds who are studying for the first time at higher education level at UK higher education institutions or English further education colleges, who remain on their courses for at least six months. Further information is available on the DIUS website:

The provisional 2007/08 figures will become available later this year, along with final 2006/07 figures.

This Government are fully committed to ensuring every young person has a fair chance of attending university. We are making progress with the proportion of young entrants from lower socio-economic groups going to university increasing steadily, reaching almost 30 per cent. in 2007.