Too many disadvantaged university students dropping out despite rise in acceptance rates, says watchdog head

The Independent is reporting warnings that too many disadvantaged students are still dropping out or failing to get top degree passes despite a rise in their acceptance rates…

Professor Les Ebdon, director of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), said “the tanker seems to be turning” at Britain’s most elite universities as they were now taking in more students from poorer households.”

“There’s been a 28 per cent increase in the number of students from disadvantaged groups in the most highly selective universities,” he said in an interview with The Independent.  The rise followed “ten years of stagnation” in which figures had failed to improve.

However, he added: “Although there are record-breaking rates of entry among disadvantaged groups, too many of these entrants are still getting lost by the wayside.  Some will never graduate and those who do are more likely to underachieve than students who are the same in every respect apart from different backgrounds, gender or ethnicity.

“These inequalities in attainment and progression are the hidden face of fair access and they are unacceptable…”

More at:Too many disadvantaged university students dropping out despite rise in acceptance rates, says watchdog head


See also this from the TES: Universities increasing outreach but offering fewer bursaries, report finds


Do you have any thoughts on why a disproportionate number of students from disadvantaged groups who are successfully getting into university are then doing less well than their peers?

Is it about expectations, lack of familiarity with others who have been through higher education or something else?

And are the universities guilty here of doing more to recruit them – perhaps to boost their diversity figures – and then failing to put in place appropriate support?

Please let us know how you see it in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Higher Education.


  1. Busy Mum

    Pushing them into higher education to which they are unsuited is unfair; it just adds to their sense of failure when they understandably drop out and this disadvantages them even more.

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