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Widening Access to Higher Education for Students from Economically Disadvantaged Backgrounds : What Works and Why? [Summary Report]

Sosu, Edward M. and Smith, Lauren N. and McKendry, Stephanie and Santoro, Ninetta and Ellis, Sue (2016) Widening Access to Higher Education for Students from Economically Disadvantaged Backgrounds : What Works and Why? [Summary Report]. [Report]

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Abstract

There are significant social inequalities in access to higher education internationally. Students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds remain persistently under-represented in higher education (HE). Put simply, university populations fail to reflect their broader societies, with the vast majority of entrants coming from more advantaged backgrounds. Our research contributes to the ongoing effort by systematically examining the evidence for policy and programme interventions that widen access to higher education. We also examined trends in widening access in Scotland, barriers to access, and the impact of the national outreach scheme, the Schools for Higher Education Programme (SHEP), in supporting students to overcome these barriers. We provide recommendations for different stakeholders.