The proportional increase in entrant numbers between 2015-16 and 2016-17 was:
- 59 per cent for students from the lowest undergraduate participation areas (POLAR quintile 1)
- 53 per cent for quintile 2
- 45 per cent for quintile 3
- 39 per cent for quintile 4
- 24 per cent for students from the highest undergraduate participation areas (POLAR quintile 5)
This has resulted in the proportion of students coming from the highest-participation areas (quintile 5) decreasing from 37 per cent of all young postgraduate entrants in 2015-16 to 34 per cent in 2016-17, while the proportion of students from the lowest undergraduate participation areas (quintile 1) has increased from 9 per cent to 10 per cent of the young postgraduate entrant population.
One-year transition rates
Among those who qualified from a degree prior to 2015-16, students from low-participation neighbourhoods had a lower transition rate than students from high-participation neighbourhoods - but in 2015-16 this changed.
In 2014-15, 7 per cent of students from low-participation areas (quintile 1) transitioned to postgraduate study, but this went up to 11 per cent in 2015-16.
Between 2014-15 and 2015-16, the increase in the transition rate of quintile 1 students was 3.6 percentage points, compared with a 2.2 percentage point increase in the transition rate for quintile 5 students. In addition to this there was a decrease in the gap between 2013-14 and 2014-15. This was the year the Postgraduate Support Scheme (PSS) was introduced which allocated £50 million for 10,000 masters' students.
Loan take-up was greatest among students from the lowest-participation areas, with 84 per cent of students taking out a loan. This decreases to just 63 per cent of students from the highest-participation areas.
Realisation of intentions
There has been a four percentage point increase in students from the lowest-participation neighbourhoods realising their intention to study at postgraduate level, compared with a two percentage point increase for students from the highest-participation areas.