Differentiation and social segregation of UK higher education, 1996–2010

Differentiation and social segregation of UK higher education, 1996–2010

Journal: Oxford Review of Education
Year: 2013
Authors: Croxford L & Raffe D
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Online
DOI: 10.1080/03054985.2013.784193
Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03054985.2013.784193?scroll=top&needAccess=true
Policies to expand higher education (HE) in the UK have emphasised the importance of widening participation by under-represented groups. However, the attention has shifted from who participates in HE (and who does not) to the different institutions attended by students from different backgrounds. Researchers have typically investigated this issue by comparing rates of entry to different types of university. This paper proposes an alternative approach; it uses concepts of social segregation, hitherto applied mainly to secondary schools, to analyse UCAS data on the social and demographic characteristics of entrants to HE. It estimates indices of segregation between HE institutions, and between subject areas within institutions, for selected cohorts of entrants to full-time undergraduate courses between 1996 and 2010. Levels of segregation during this period have been relatively high in relation to ethnicity and independent schooling, lower in relation to age and lowest in relation to gender, disability and social class. Most indices show stability over time, with a decline in the segregation of non-white ethnic groups and a small increase in segregation of independent school students. Levels of segregation differ across the four UK home countries, and tend to be highest in England.
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