The Independent is reporting that recent statistics show that students studying at alternative providers of higher education (HE) are more likely to be mature and from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups than those studying at traditional universities.
“Experimental statistics” released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) have shown 34 per cent of students surveyed in the 2014/15 cohort identified as black, while 19 per cent identified as Asian.
These figures are are much higher when compared with the ten per cent of students identifying as black and Asian at publicly-funded universities.
Of the students included in Hesa’s sample, 88 per cent were from the UK, and students at alternative providers are also more likely to be mature, with 43 per cent of full-time students aged 30 or over at the point of entry, compared to only six per cent at publicly-funded institutions.
Study UK, the largest representative body for independent colleges, lauded the “important role” independent HE plays in widening participation in the UK.
Study UK’s chief executive, Alex Proudfoot, said: “Independent colleges offer flexible entry and start dates which fit around a student’s circumstances, making them a popular choice for the demographic of student we see universities struggle to recruit.”
“It is important the Government protects and enhances the flexibility of independent colleges, in both their entry points and course delivery, to ensure they continue to be this positive force for social mobility.”
What do you think has caused this difference in the type of students attending? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on twitter.
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