Our Youth Jobs Gap research shows that only 26% of young people eligible for free school meals go to university, compared to 45% of their better-off peers.
What is widening participation?
The term 'widening participation' refers to the support provided to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education, do well, and graduate. Widening participation aims to ensure that universities reflect the social diversity.
What is Impetus doing on widening participation?
We work with charities like The Access Project and IntoUniversity to improve university access for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many organisations like these rely on widening participation funding. Currently, the government requires universities to set aside a proportion of their fee income for widening participation programmes.
Our widening participation recommendations for government
Impetus is calling on the government to protect widening participation funding so that we can close the university access gap.
Together with a number of third sector organisations we've formed the Fair Access Coalition and issued a statement on widening participation, ahead of this year’s spending review and in response to the Augur review:
- Irrespective of what tuition fee regime is implemented, we call on the government to protect widening participation funding, while building on momentum around spending it effectively.
- We urge the government to avoid adding complexity to the higher education funding landscape and to ensure that all students have the information, advice and guidance they need to make good choices in higher education.
- We urge the government to increase the amount of maintenance support available to young people, for instance by restoring maintenance grants, so that university is affordable for everyone.
- We urge the government not to impose a cap on student numbers.
We’ve published our full submission to the Augar review.
We're also calling on government to help ensure recent social mobility gains are not sent into reverse – a danger of tuition fee cuts.