University of Leicester continues to lead the way on widening access to top-ranking Higher Education
Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Education and also in Communities
The University of Leicester has extended its unrivalled record for widening access to top-ranking higher education, new national performance figures show.
It is the only institution among The Times top-20 universities to meet or exceed its benchmarks for attracting students from working class backgrounds, state schools, and neighbourhoods where participation in higher education is low.
Performance indicators published today by the Higher Education Statistics Agency also show that Leicester has met all of its benchmarks for recruiting mature students from low participation areas and students in receipt of a disabled students’ allowance.
In addition, the University continues to have one of the best course completion rates in the country.
The performance indicators show that just over a quarter (25.1 per cent) of Leicester’s full-time, young, UK undergraduates are from the four lowest socio-economic classes. Nearly nine in 10 (87.6 per cent) of the University’s young UK full-timers come from state schools and just over one in 10 (10.2 per cent) of its mature students are from low participation neighbourhoods.
Despite concern that students from less traditional backgrounds may be more likely to drop out, Leicester has one of the highest completion rates at 96.2 per cent of young full-time first degree entrants finishing their studies. Across the sector as a whole, the completion rate for such students was just 93.7 per cent.
The HESA data, based on the student intake for 2011/12, measures performance against benchmarks for the proportion of students from state schools or poorer backgrounds that each university should be recruiting. The benchmarks are drawn up on the basis of the profile of each university, taking into account size, subject spread and location, and also entry qualifications of students.
Commenting on the results, Leicester’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Robert Burgess said: “These figures show once again that Leicester is the only top-ranking university that can truly claim to be ‘elite without being elitist’.
“At a time when there has been a great deal of debate about the role of universities in enhancing social mobility in this country, it is encouraging to see that Leicester continues to lead the way in providing access to a high quality education to students from all backgrounds.
“Our very healthy continuation rates also show that we look after our students once they are here, providing the best support as well as some of the best education in the country to those who may need additional help and guidance.”