Young people from the wealthiest areas saw the biggest drop in Russell Group university places last year

Russell Group universities

Russell Group universities

Figures released Thursday show that youth from the wealthiest areas experienced the biggest drop in places at Russell Group universities last year.

College candidates have faced the most competitive spot in decades for places at top universities, due to tight places, and institutions trying to recover from the previous year, when they received over-applications due to inflated teacher-assessed grades.

Figures released by university admissions service Ucas showed that overall, the number of 18-year-old Brits earning a place at the so-called “high-tariff” universities created by the Russell Group fell by nearly 12,000 to 91,190.

Young people from all five groups of postcode areas used by universities to help assess whether candidates are at a disadvantage saw a decline in places awarded.

Those from the most advantageous areas, defined as zip codes in the top five for the proportion of young people entering tertiary education, accounted for more than a third, or 4,350, of the decline in places.

Young people in areas identified as least advantageous by postcode analysis saw the number of places drop by 865.

However, 18-year-olds from the wealthiest areas still dominated Russell Group admission, earning 40,515 places, down 9.7 percent from the previous year. It fell from 6.2 percent to 5.3 percent, relative to the overall population of youth from the least affluent areas.

Those from the least affluent regions gained 7,100 places, down 10.9 percent from the previous year.

It fell from 6.2 percent to 5.3 percent, relative to the overall population of youth from the least affluent areas.

‘class conflict’

Lee Elliot Major, professor of social mobility at the University of Exeter, predicted a “clash of classes” in the coming years due to “increasing competition for entry into highly selective degree courses” long dominated by middle-students. grade students.

“I think we’re going to see more discussion about who gets these valuable university places,” he said.

Universities began lowering the entrance grades of disadvantaged students in an effort to diversify their intake. At the same time, the number of 18-year-olds in the population has increased and the demand for universities has remained at record levels.

A spokesperson for the Russell Group said: “There is always competition for places at the top universities and 2022 has been particularly competitive as everything has returned to normal after the two-year cut to exams. Despite this, the number of UK 18-year-old students admitted to our universities is 2019′. increased compared to the pre-pandemic trend, and this underscores their commitment to provide a high-quality education to local students.”

Cost of living affecting students

Universities fear the cost of living crisis will affect students’ ability to study effectively next year. The government announced Wednesday that maintenance loans will rise 2.8 percent in September, well below inflation of around 10 percent.

The Russell Group warned that this would leave some students £1,500 worse off. For a full-time student living away from home outside of London, the maximum maintenance loan amount will be £9,978 in 2023-24; this is £1,523 less than the £11,501 the loan would have received had it increased in line with inflation.

The government has announced an additional £15m distress fund for this fiscal year. Kate Ogden, a senior research economist at the Institute for Financial Studies, said: “The additional one-off challenge funding this year at around £10 per student is a drop in the ocean.”

Students do not face an increase in tuition fees frozen for the next two years.

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