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According to an analysis of college entry numbers, more than half of English universities account for less than 5% of poor white students.

The report, from the National Network of Education Opportunities (Neon), shows white students from disadvantaged areas in low numbers in many universities.

There is 3% at the University of Oxford, against 28% in Teesside.

According to the study, too few universities have clear goals for recruiting white students from the working class.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has previously warned of the risk of communities feeling "left out".

The study, from an organization promoting wider access to higher education, calls for a "national initiative" to combat the underperformance of young disadvantaged whites in schools, colleges and universities.

University figures show the problem of recruiting white students from disadvantaged backgrounds – and how many universities have a very small proportion.

He warns that less than a fifth of universities aim to admit more poor white students – and that there are only "varying" efforts to improve the quality of life. participation.

Even if a target of 5% of poor white students was to be defined in all universities, this would mean that an additional 10,000 students would go to university, the research indicates.


The study looks at white students from so-called "low-participation neighborhoods" – areas where few people usually go to university.

In total figures, white students of all social backgrounds make up the largest group that goes to university, show figures from the Ucas admissions department.

But in terms of proportion of the population, young whites are less likely than Asian or black teens to go to university.

The most recent figures for the fall courses show that the number of applications from white students is decreasing, while it is increasing for Asian and black students.

The gender gap is widening, with women being much more likely than men to apply to university.

When these factors are combined, it means that white men of the working class are among the most under-represented groups in the university.

According to the study, plans to broaden entry to the university may have to be "redefined".

Large fracture

The report presents an extremely divided picture of places where poor white students are likely to attend.

They are particularly likely to attend higher education courses at local higher education institutions.

Of those who go to university, 70% go to new universities, a small number of them going to high ranking institutions.

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Cambridge has 2%, Warwick and Bristol 3%, Durham 4%.

At the University of Sunderland, 27% of acceptances come from white students from disadvantaged areas and this figure is 22% at Staffordshire University.

Figures are particularly low in London's universities – many of them 1% or 2%.

But these numbers could be affected by the high number of young people going to university in London – much higher than elsewhere in England.

& # 39; Left behind & # 39;

Because of these high entry rates, even among poor young people, there are relatively few "low-participation neighborhoods" in London, or young people in this category.

The high cost of living in London could also deter poorer students from other countries from coming to study in the capital.

Graeme Atherton, co-author of the report and director of Neon, warned about the "great variability" of the chances of different groups going to the university.

"We need to know more about the reasons for this variability and do more to eliminate it," he said.

A spokesperson for Universities UK said the universities were "committed to expanding access to higher education and ensuring the success of all their students, regardless of their background".

The spokeswoman for the university organization said that "18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged areas of England are more likely to attend university than ever before" – and that this could be further improved if the government reinstated "student subsidies". the poorest ".

Mr. Hinds emphasized the importance of supporting education in communities that may feel "left out".

In a speech in the fall, Hinds said: "The disadvantaged British white boys are the least likely of one of the largest ethnic groups to go to university.

"We need to ask why and ask the government, the universities and the system as a whole to change that.

"It is essential to do this to ensure that no part of our country feels left behind."