National push to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds welcomed

A new drive to ensure students from diverse backgrounds succeed in higher education has been welcomed by the University of Wolverhampton.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) announced a five year strategy to increase student opportunity and enable more students from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed.

Record levels of people from lower-income families are now entering higher education alongside increasing numbers of students with disabilities and from black or ethnic minority groups.

However, these groups still underachieve in terms of degree results, progression into further study and graduate-level employment.

The Prime Minister has set a target to double the proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education by 2020.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “"The University of Wolverhampton is committed to providing more opportunities for all students to realise their potential, irrespective of their backgrounds, which is why we welcome this HEFCE’s strategy.

“We don’t see coming to university simply as getting a degree, we see it as giving an individual the chance to change their lives and help them get the career they really want.

“That is why we are generating £250m of investment to enable the University to create better facilities and learning and teaching opportunities, as well as providing a boost to skills provision, jobs and economic growth in the region.”

“We are an extremely diverse University. We have one of the highest proportions in the UK of students from working class backgrounds and around 40 per cent are from Black and Minority Ethnic communities but we want to do more to help support students from all of our under-represented communities, including disabled students.

“We have more students completing their degrees than ever before and they are maximising the opportunity open to them with 95 per cent of Wolverhampton graduates in work within six months of graduating.”

Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said: “Universities and colleges have already made significant progress in terms of widening access and improving retention for students whose talents and skills risk being overlooked.

“To build on this success to date, we should now focus on establishing which interventions are working most effectively to educate the graduates the country needs.

“HEFCE will work with universities and colleges to implement methods to evaluate what kinds of activities work best across the whole student lifecycle and into employment.”

For more information about the strategy see here.

ENDS

For more information please contact James Allen in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322003.

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