Less than a quarter of Brum students are working class
Fewer working class students are going to Russell Group unis each year
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has reported that seven of the 24 Russell group universities have reduced the number of students from poorer backgrounds accepted earlier this year. The University of Birmingham has just 22.8 per cent of students that come from “Lower Economic Backgrounds”.
Although millions has been spent encouraging all students to apply to top universities, we still see a fall of students from poorer backgrounds going to Russell Group universities in the UK, in the past decade.
Oxford and Cambridge especially, have a decreased percentage of students from working class backgrounds attending their universities where only 10 per cent of poorer students study at Oxford and 10.2 per cent study at Cambridge.
The other five Russell Group universities demonstrating this statistical decrease are Exeter, Durham, Imperial College, Glasgow and Queen’s University, Belfast.
Queen Mary University of London had the highest proportion of students from working class backgrounds attending their university with 37 per cent.
Whilst more poorer children are going to university, the figures denote that most are successfully receiving a place at middle and low-ranked universities, not the institutions with the best reputations.
The statistics also reveal that students from private schools are two and a half times more likely to enter a top university than their state school competitors.
However, some universities have criticized the way HESA compiles its figures, as they concentrate on the social class of students. It has been argued that a better way to determine poverty might be by observing the proportion of students who qualify for free meals at school.