By Lucy Downer, Deputy News Editor
The University of Bristol has one of the lowest percentages of white students from poorer backgrounds in the UK.
As a percentage of all student acceptances, white males from lower socio-economic backgrounds account for just 2.33% of students at the University of Bristol, the third lowest in the country.
White females from poorer backgrounds also only account for 2.88% students at Bristol, the fifth worst percentage in the UK.
Half of universities have fewer than 5% poor white students according to a new report released from the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON).
The study argues that too few universities have clear targets to recruit white working-class students. It looks at white students from so-called ‘low-participation neighbourhoods’ - areas where few people usually go to university.
The Education Secretary Damian Hinds has warned of communities feeling ‘left behind’.
White students, from all social backgrounds, are the biggest group going to university – according to figures from UCAS – however, in terms of a proportion of the population, white youngsters are less likely to go to university than Asian or Black teenagers.
A University of Bristol spokesperson said: ‘We are firmly committed to making our University into a socially diverse and inclusive community. While we appreciate that there is still significant work to be done, the University is making real progress in diversifying our student community.’
‘In the last five years there has been a 90 per cent increase in the University’s intake from students attending the lowest performing schools, state school intake increased to 67 per cent in 2018 and our flagship two-grade contextual offer is having a transformative impact on the social diversity of our student community.’
Despite these changes the university is still amongst the worst in the UK for its admittance of white students from poorer backgrounds.
Bristol have stated that they ‘recognise the need to attract and admit a greater number of students from white working-class backgrounds and have extended our contextual offer to include those who apply from neighborhoods with the lowest progression rates to higher education.’
As reflected in the wider UK picture, it remains to be seen whether the changes made by the university can improve the admission statistics for white students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Featured image: Epigram / Cameron Scheijde
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