Student mobility, whether or not a student leaves home to study and how far they are willing to travel if so, is a major dimension of inequality within higher education choice and experience. Authored by Michael Donnelly and Sol Gamsu from the University of Bath, this research explores how staying at home and studying locally is strongly differentiated by ethnicity and social background.
- Young people from less affluent backgrounds should receive greater financial assistance to help meet the increased costs associated with moving out, including restoring maintenance grants and lowering fees for the less well-off.
- Financial support should also be provided that is specific to the financial realities of commuting significant distances to university, given the socio-economic profile of commuter students.
- Universities should consider more flexible timetabling of lectures where they have seen large increases in students commuting from the family home to attend university.
- Universities should work to reassure families who may discourage their children from studying away from home for cultural reasons. Outreach activities, open days and summer schools such as the Sutton Trust UK Summer School programme can help to reassure such students – and their parents.
- A specific spatial element should be included in future university access agreements, including a focus on peripheral geographical areas. There is a notable lack of provision of university outreach in peripheral areas, in stark contrast to working-class schools and colleges in London which often receive high levels of engagement.
- Selective universities should consider reserving a proportion of places for local working-class students. Such changes must also be accompanied by the creation of an academic, cultural and social environment that is amenable to these students.
- Halal Student Loans are needed to enable Muslim students to borrow money in accordance with their religious beliefs so that – if they wish to do so – they have the same opportunities for mobility as their non-Muslim peers.