Black students 20% less likely to get Bristol offer than white counterparts


By Cameron Scheijde, co-Editor-in-Chief

Applicants to the University of Bristol from black backgrounds are considerably less likely to recieve an offer from the University in comparison to their white counterparts.

Figures published by UCAS show a BME Attainment gap, with black students 20% less likely to receive an offer than white students.

A 2017 report by Bristol SU showed that BME students when at University felt isolated due to often being the only BME people in the room. They were also more likely to suffer from mental health conditions due to microaggressions or direct racism.

While Universities do not know the ethnicity of their applicants, there is a gap between black students and those of other ethnicities at school level, with black students less likely to achieve 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C or equivalent.

In the SU survey, one respondent said; 'I have only seen one black lecturer and there are only five black people on my course. Sometimes I feel a bit lost because I do not see people that look like me very often ... but if I do see a fellow black student I feel happy for some reason'.

Other large Russell Group Universities have similar gaps, with the worst percentage point differences found at Cambridge and Oxford.

Percentage point difference for offer rates between Black and White students in selected Russell Group Universities

Eva Larkai, chair of Bristol SU's BME Network, said: 'these statistics don't come as a huge surprise to me. The data shows the number of applications to the University of Bristol being made by BME students is increasing each year, yet it's difficult to see any real progress reflected in our student population.

'It is evident that the structural barriers that block these students from accessing elite institutions like Bristol aren't being challenged adequately and there needs to be more transparency around why BME, and specifically black, students are being disproportionately implicated in this process'.

Two years ago, an Epigram investigation found that just 6.9% of black applicants to Bristol go on to receive, accept and meet the terms of an offer.


A University spokesperson said: 'We do not know the ethnicity of students when they apply so offers are based purely on whether applicants satisfy the academic criteria for the course they’ve applied for. We have many sector-leading widening participation schemes to ensure we reach students from all backgrounds. There has been a 56 per cent increase in the number of black and minority ethnic students enrolling at the University since 2013/14 - a growth in number from 470 to 733.

'We will continue to strive towards a more diverse student community at the University of Bristol, ensuring we recruit the most able students, regardless of their background.'

Graphics by Patrick Sullivan
Featured image: Facebook / Bristol SU


Cameron Scheijde

Former Editor | Co-Editor-in-Chief 2018-19 | Online Comment Editor, 2017-18