The effect of postgraduate loans



Black students have the highest take-up of loans, but they have also seen the largest proportional increase in transition rates and the largest increase in numbers of students.

White students have the lowest transition rates and one of the smallest increases in absolute numbers.

White students make up the majority of the postgraduate population, but are a lower proportion of the population than they are at undergraduate level. Analysis has shown that students of other ethnicities are more likely to realise their intentions to study at postgraduate level six months after graduation.

Entrants to eligible courses

Between 2015-16 and 2016-17 there has been a 74 per cent increase in numbers of black students, compared with just a 27 per cent increase in white students and a 20 per cent increase in Asian students. This has caused a change in the composition of the postgraduate population. In 2015-16, 8 per cent of students were black, and this has increased to 10 per cent in 2016-17. Conversely, the proportion of white students has decreased from 67 per cent of the population in 2015-16 to 65 per cent in 2016-17. Asian students have decreased from 10 per cent of the population in 2015-16 to 9 per cent in 2016-17.


One-year transition rates

The largest increase in transition rates is for black students, with an increase of four percentage points between 2014-15 and 2015-16. This group now has the highest transition rate of all students.

White students have seen the next largest increase, of three percentage points, but they still have the lowest transition rates.


Loan take-up

Loan take-up also varies by the ethnicity of the student. The highest rate of loan take-up was among eligible black students, 74 per cent of whom took out a loan. The next highest take-up rate was 64 per cent of white students, followed by 62 per cent for students of mixed and other ethnicities. The lowest take-up rate was 55 per cent among Asian students.

Realisation of intentions

In terms of realising their intention to undertake postgraduate study, white students and those of mixed or other ethnicities had the lowest increase in their rate of realising their intentions, with just a five percentage point rise between 2014-15 and 2016-17. For Asian students the increase is six percentage points, while the largest increase is among black students, with an eight percentage point increase.

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