Variations in HE participation

Some big differences across the country

HEFCE has just published its latest research on participation in HE for 14 cohorts of young people aged 18 in the academic years from 1998-99 to 2011-12:

In October 2013 we published a report on the latest trends in young participation. This report builds on earlier reports to include cohorts up to and including those who entered HE aged 18 in the academic year 2011-12, or aged 19 in the academic year 2012-13.

This means it covers young people who entered HE aged 18 the year before the new funding and finance arrangements for HE came into effect. So it provides a baseline from which to measure participation rates in the new funding environment.

An interactive map shows the variations across the country.

map1 particpation

But as the report notes significant differences in participation remain – in particular between:

  • young people from advantaged and disadvantaged groups
  • young people living in different parts of the country
  • young men and women.

While it seems that some of these differences have reduced slightly others have become larger. The variations across different regions are most striking on the maps, particularly in North Nottingham where the participation rate, at 16%, is the lowest in the country. We have a long way to go but this is one of the reasons for the importance of Nottingham Potential, the University of Nottingham initiative to increase participation in this region.


1 thought on “Variations in HE participation

  1. It has often been noted that the higher education participation rate is consistently higher in Scotland than it is in England. Why so?

    The following report (not directly comparable to the HEFCE study) was published in April 2013.

    Table 4 of that publication shows that more than 1/3rd of the numbers relate to people studying at HE level in FE Colleges.


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