Post 2012: Opening up Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities

Previous research has shown that a large proportion of ethnic minorities in the Higher Education system are represented in undergraduate study in the new (post-1992) university sector.  More prestigious universities such as Oxbridge and universities under the Russell Group banner continuously show an under-representation of ethnic minorities in their universities.

The Race For Opportunity report published in 2010 by Business in the Community, uncovered with the exception of new universities, only the universities of Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham and Warwick draw in a representative proportion of all British ethnic groups.

Drawing on this lack of diversity in some of Britain’s universities, an article this week in The Guardian, highlights the experiences of under-represented black students at Oxford University.

The article draws on the prime minister’s comments on his alma matar, Brasenose, as having admissions figures for taking students from the lowest socio-economic groups as “disgraceful”.

In 2009, just one “black Caribbean” applicant from the UK out of the 25 “black Caribbean’s” who applied – was accepted for study at Oxford.

Highlighted elsewhere in Sociological Imagination, Oxbridge statistically tends to the choice of the nation’s elite and has an overwhelmingly high proportion of white upper and middle class students compared to other groups.

This is nothing new, but given the fact that Oxbridge and Russell Group universities have confirmed that they will be charging the maximum tuition fee, it will prove interesting to see how figures on admissions from lower socio-economic groups in these institutions might be affected in the future given that provision must now be made for these under-represented groups.

Categories: Higher Education

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