Widening Access to Higher Education for Students from Economically Disadvantaged Backgrounds: What Works and Why? [Summary Report]

Edward M. Sosu, Lauren N. Smith, Stephanie McKendry, Ninetta Santoro, Sue Ellis

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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There are significant social inequalities in access to higher education internationally. Students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds remain persistently under-represented in higher education (HE). Put simply, university populations fail to reflect their broader societies, with the vast majority of entrants coming from more advantaged backgrounds. Our research contributes to the ongoing effort by systematically examining the evidence for policy and programme interventions that widen access to higher education. We also examined trends in widening access in Scotland, barriers to access, and the impact of the national outreach scheme, the Schools for Higher Education Programme (SHEP), in supporting students to overcome these barriers. We provide recommendations for different stakeholders.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Commissioning bodyScottish Funding Council SFC
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • access to higher education
  • widening participation
  • equity
  • social inequality
  • social mobility
  • student retention

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