22 SES 13 A, Barriers and Policies for Access to Higher Education In Belgium, England and France
In the UK, ethnic minorities are generally well presented in higher education, however, their representation varies greatly within the stratified higher education system. For working class students, there has been an increase in the absolute number of students going to university, but again, social class stratifies the type of university attended with working class students concentrated in newer universities. This presentation focuses on the experience of minorities and working class students accessing the University of Oxford. Findings are drawn from a mixed-methods study that used quantitative methods to survey applicants for admission to Oxford and qualitative methods to explore how selectors constructed their admissions choices. The findings suggest that most of the under-representation of minority students and working class students can be explained by their prior attainment records and their lower propensity to apply to Oxford or other elite universities in the first place. However, the actual admissions process also shows some biases – but these are not always in the hypothesised direction
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