The Black offer gap exposed: How top unis are still harder for Black students to get into
Black students are less likely than white students to get offers at every single Russell Group uni
Black students are less likely than white students to get offers at every single Russell Group university.
In findings that shed light on the Black offer gap at the country’s top universities, The Tab has analysed UCAS statistics to uncover just how much harder it still is for Black students to get in.
We discovered that, for a handful of this group of elite institutions, white students are more than a third more likely to get offers.
At LSE, offer rates were the closest of any Russell Group uni – but still lower for Black applicants.
UCAS says there is no “systemic bias against ethnic minorities” in uni admissions.
They said gaps were often explained by prior attainment, different qualifications studied, and a student’s choice of university or course.
“For example, we know that black students are more likely to have studied BTEC qualifications and live in low progression neighbourhoods,” a spokesperson told The Tab.
“By virtue of where people live and which school people attend, many of these factors are correlated with ethnicity, and so, when looking at offer rates, we see large variations across different ethnic groups.”
The Black attainment gap is often talked about – whether Black students are less likely to get firsts and 2.2s. But less discussed is how likely those students are to even make it to university in the first place.
And the gap is also there for other ethnicities. LSE is the only Russell Group university where Asian students are more likely to get an offer than white students. Mixed race students are more likely than white students to get an offer at seven of the Russell Group’s 24 universities.
A UCAS spokesperson told The Tab: “UCAS publishes offer making data as part of the annual release of some three million data points to support full transparency in the admission process and to ensure confidence in university and college decision-making.
“Offer rates and average offer rates for students based on ethnic group show variability, but it’s important to remember that there are a range of factors for this, such as attainment to date, qualification and subjects studied at Level 3, university and course applied to. For example, we know that black students are more likely to have studied BTEC qualifications and live in low progression neighbourhoods.
“By virtue of where people live and which school people attend, many of these factors are correlated with ethnicity, and so, when looking at offer rates, we see large variations across different ethnic groups.
“This is an area that UCAS continually explores, we publish data annually and have published extensive research in this area, most notably in 2015 and 2020, and our previous analysis finds that offer making does not reflect any systemic bias against ethnic minorities in HE admissions.
“Students regardless of their background, should be confident that decisions about their applications are being made fairly.”
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