30. Current methods of institutional funding
provide for a 10 per cent premium to institutions for each student
recruited from a postcode where the participation rate is lower
than one third of the national average.
This postcode or participation premium is intended to recognise
the additional support needed by some students from lower socioeconomic
31. Our predecessor Committee recommended that the
postcode premium should be increased to 20 per cent (from what
was then 5 per cent).
In a recent speech in the House of Lords, Baroness Warwick of
Undercliffe, Chief Executive of Universities UK, reported the
finding that the real cost of widening participation is closer
to 35 per cent.
Professor Roderick Floud, Chairman of Universities UK, told us:
"We have just conducted a research project
that shows that the additional costs of supporting widening participation
of students is probably of the order of 35 per cent, which is
significantly higher even than your Committee recommended when
it last discussed that particular subject."
32. We believe that the present methods of identifying
students from more deprived backgrounds are underdeveloped and
we call upon the Department for Education and Skills to refine
their methods and to learn from private sector methodology in
order to improve the precision of targeting.
33. We believe that the present 'post-code premium'
of 10 per cent is still too low and urgent consideration should
be given to a higher rate, reflecting the true costs of recruiting
and supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds.