Some groups of people are less likely to achieve the qualifications needed to study in higher education and these gaps in achievement are apparent from a young age.
There is also inequality between groups once they get into higher education and some people are more likely to do well than others, even when their prior academic performance is the same.
We consider underrepresented groups to include:
- students from areas of low higher education participation, low household income or low socioeconomic status
- some black, Asian and minority ethnic students
- mature students
- disabled students
- care leavers
- people estranged from their families
- people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities
- children from military families.
The most and least represented
In 2017-18, there was a gap of 30.9 percentage points between the most and least represented groups.
In 2017-18, there was a gap of 19.8 percentage points between the most and least represented groups going to high-tariff providers.
Non-continuation (or 'dropout' rates)
In 2016-17, there was a difference of 4.4 percentage points between the non-continuation rates of the most and the least represented groups.
In 2017-18, there was a difference of 23.1 percentage points between the proportion of white and black students getting a 1st or 2:1.
In 2017-18, there was a difference of 2.8 percentage points between the proportion of disabled and non-disabled students getting a 1st or 2:1.