Select Committee on Education and Employment Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Department for Education and Employment

Question 58:  Widening participation in higher education and regional analysis of students' backgrounds

  Widening access to higher education (HE) for under-represented groups is a priority for every region and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) works on behalf of DfEE to support that objective and promote social inclusion. HEFCE have developed geodemographic techniques for investigating participation and patterns of access across the HE sector and have produced statistics for each UK HE institution to give a guide to the different types of neighbourhood that its students come from.

  HEFCE publishes Performance Indicators (PIs) for each institution, providing information about the participation of groups that are under-represented in HE relative to the population as a whole. For young full-time entrants to HE there are three PIs based upon type of school attended, parents' occupation and home area. The latest published figures can be found in the HEFCE Reports 00/40 "Performance indicators in higher education in the UK" which can be accessed on the website

  HEFEC Report 00/38 "Regional profiles of higher education" also contains information although this is not fully accesssible on the internet. Printed copies of HEFCE publications are available from HEFCE Publications, Bristol—telephone 0117 931 7035.

  HEFCE's analyses use data collected by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The Department holds datasets from HESA and UCAS that give regional breakdowns of the domicile of students but it does not routinely calculate regional HE participation rates.

May 2001

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