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University Challenge: How Higher Education Can Advance Social Mobility

Milburn, A. University Challenge: How Higher Education Can Advance Social Mobility. Crown, London, 2012. Pages: 94.

This report by the Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn, the independent reviewer on social mobility and child poverty, discusses what universities are currently doing to advance social mobility in the United Kingdom (UK) and what else they can do to pursuit this objective. Access to university in the UK is still inequitable and a strong correlation between social class and the likelihood of going to university is still prevalent. This report discusses four areas in which universities should act upon in order to improve access from socio-economic disadvantaged students and to promote social mobility: outreach activities to attract students, admission processes and criteria to enter university, student support services and integration of students in the labour market. The author also presents five policy areas in the UK which may bring about unintended consequences regarding universities’ efforts to attract and retain students from disadvantaged backgrounds: the rise in tuition fees, the cap in total student numbers, the approach to student number controls, the replacement of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and the area of career advice.

UK Cabinet Office