Universities miss state school targets

Almost half the universities planning to charge £9,000 tuition fees are failing to meet their state school targets.

Univeristy admission

New figures have revealed that eight of the universities planning to charge £9,000 tuition fees are failing to meet their state school admission targets.

They also show that overall, nearly a third of institutions are not fulfilling their set quota, therefore failing to achieve the desired social mix in higher education.

Most of the Russell Group universities took in fewer state school students than specified, figures from the Higher Education Statistics Authority show. For example, in Oxford 54.3% of those admitted were from state education, when the target was 70.2%. There was a similar story at Cambridge University, where targets of 70.4% were missed by more than 10%. Instead, 59.4% of the Cambridge intake were from state schools.

Other universities coming in below their percentage goals included Bath, the latest institution to declare its intentions to charge future students £9,000 a year.

Of the 16 English Russell Group universities, ten were substantially below their benchmarks, although three - Liverpool, Sheffield and Soutahmpton - exceeded targets. Cardiff, Glasgow and Queen’s University Belfast also did well in terms of state school admittance.

A Russell Group spokesperson said that although access is widening, it is ‘important to understand that the key reason why too few poorer students even apply to leading universities is that they are not achieving the right grades at school. Students who come from low-income backgrounds or who have attended comprehensive schools are much less likely to achieve the highest grades than those who are from more advantaged backgrounds and who have been to independent or grammar schools.’

In total, 88.8% of students starting university in 2010 were from state schools, a rise of 3.8% over the past ten years.