New research from the IFS in collaboration with the Sutton Trust.
Universities overall are important engines of social mobility, with the most selective institutions levelling the playing field the most amongst their graduates.
On average, lower income students are much less likely than their better-off counterparts to gain access to the most selective institutions. This means less selective ‘Post-1992’ universities, which take on the majority of low income students, have played the most significant role in driving social mobility.
This is according to new research published today by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) in collaboration with the Sutton Trust that looks at the role universities play in social mobility in Britain. The report uses the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset to estimate a “mobility rate” for all English universities for the first time. The rate is calculated by looking at how many students from disadvantaged backgrounds get in, as well as how many of those become top earners after graduation.
The Sutton Trust has published a summary report at the same time as the IFS report. The research finds that:
The research is based on a cohort of students who are now in their mid-30s. The focus on access in the past years – including through the work of universities, the Sutton Trust and other organisations – means we are likely to see improvements in “mobility rates” at many universities. Sutton Trust partner universities include Queen Mary, the top university in the list, and many of the institutions which have seen improvements in their rankings over the last decade, including Cambridge, Warwick and the Royal Veterinary College.
Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chair of the Sutton Trust and chair of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:
“Universities are among the most powerful engines for social mobility that we have. Today’s ground-breaking new research confirms the role they play in enabling disadvantaged young people into well-paying and rewarding careers. In particular, less selective universities are really doing the heavy lifting to promote social mobility.
“However, the findings also highlight significant challenges. Disadvantaged students who go to the most selective universities are more likely to become socially mobile. But while it’s clear that significant progress has been made on access in the past decade, there remains work to be done to further open up these institutions.
“Today’s research is a reminder of why access and outreach is so important for social mobility and the government’s levelling up agenda.”
NOTES TO EDITORS