Friday, February 12, 2016

Universities must reach out to the poorest in society – for everybody’s sake | Jo Johnson

Last week, the prime minister gathered university leaders at Downing Street as part of a move to break down the barriers blocking under-represented young people from going to university. Now, we are taking action – publishing the first new guidance on fair access in five years.
Huge progress has already been made. We have announced new measures to support the part-time students who are more likely to be from under-represented groups. We have asked universities to work towards the introduction of a name-blind system of admission by 2017.
We have also pledged legislation that will shine a spotlight on the whole applications process, exposing where offer rates for the poorest students are particularly low. And by delivering on our manifesto commitment to end the artificial cap on student numbers, the government is ensuring that more places are available than ever before – helping universities play their role as engines of social mobility.
Record numbers of students secured places last year, including record numbers from disadvantaged backgrounds. But there is more to do to meet the prime minister’s ambitious goal of doubling the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university by 2020.
The new guidance we are issuing to the director of fair access asks him to push universities to go further, act faster and focus their efforts more effectively in return…

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