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Home Publications Family background and university success: differences in Higher Education access and outcomes in England

Family background and university success: differences in Higher Education access and outcomes in England

Book

Why do fewer teenagers in England from disadvantaged backgrounds go to university than young people from better-off families? Once at university, how well do poorer students fare compared with other students - who drops out from university and who gets the best degrees? After university - who secures better jobs and higher pay? What really has been the impact on university entry of the controversial increases in tuition fees in 2006 and 2012, especially for students from poorer families? Is there no alternative to charging for university places and what do other countries do? What should governments, universities, and schools do to reduce the gaps in university entry and success by family background? And what advice can be given to families and young people themselves deciding between the costs and benefits of university? This book answers these questions using the latest available evidence, drawing on a wealth of data from administrative records of the school and university system and sample surveys of young people and their families. The authors' analysis of the situation in England is set against a background of evidence for other countries. The book provides much needed dispassionate analysis of issues that are at the forefront of both public policy and popular debate on higher education around the world today.

This book:

  • Examines how family background determines university success
  • Analyses who goes to university, who does best at university once they are there, and who succeeds in the labour market following graduation
  • Looks at the impact of the 2006 and 2012 tuition fee increases
  • Written in an accessible style that allows information and results to be quickly absorbed
  • Footnotes provide the specialist reader with clear references to the underlying academic papers

Find out more

Report summary
This Executive Summary accompanies a new IFS working paper which uses administrative data to measure how the earnings of English graduates around 10 years into the labour market vary with gender, institution attended, subject and socioeconomic background.
Press release
Graduates from richer family backgrounds earn significantly more after graduation than their poorer counterparts, even after completing the same degrees from the same universities. This is one of many findings in new research published today which looks at the link between earnings and students’ ...
IFS Working Paper W16/06
This paper uses tax and student loan administrative data to measure how the earnings of English graduates around 10 years into the labour market vary with gender, institution attended, subject and socioeconomic background.