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Widening Participation in Higher Education Haroon Chowdry Institute for Fiscal Studies Background & Motivation Background I: Economics Human capital is a crucial feature in the development of most economies Source: OECD and IMF (2007) Background I: Economics

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Widening Participation in Higher Education

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Widening participation in higher education l.jpg

Widening Participation in Higher Education

Haroon Chowdry

Institute for Fiscal Studies


Background motivation l.jpg

Background & Motivation


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Background I: Economics

Human capital is a crucial feature in the development of most economies

Source:

OECD and IMF

(2007)


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Background I: Economics

OECD (2007): half of all GDP/capita growth due to rising labour productivity

Efficiency

Maximise stock of education and skills in the population


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Background I: Economics

HE has financial (and other?) returns

Source: OECD (2007)


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Background I: Economics

OECD (2007): private IRR to a university degree exceeds 8% in all member nations

Equity

Who enjoys these benefits?


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Participation in HE has risen over time

BUT…

Background II: Trends


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Background II: Trends

…Access to HE in UK disproportionately limited to those from higher socioeconomic groups…


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Background II: Trends

… As is access to the top universities


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Background III: Policy

UK target of 50% HE participation by 2010

Higher Education Act 2004

Top-up fees (deferred)

Discouraging entry?

Potential variable fees in future

Two-tier system?

Not yet clear how participation has been affected

Yet stakes are higher than ever


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Research questions

Why do these inequalities in HE access exist?

Credit constraints

Information about HE

Type of school

Discrimination?

Prior attainment

Where should policy interventions, if any, be targeted?


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Data

We use administrative data on all English state school pupils to look at these issues

Cohort in Year 11 in 2001/2002

Followed until 2004/5 (1st year HE)

History of academic results from 11 to 18

Basic social/demographic characteristics

Other neighbourhood information

Proxy for parental income

Proxy for parental education


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The participation decision


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Raw social gradients

Material deprivation


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Raw social gradients

Parental education


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Raw social gradients

Ethnicity


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Importance of prior attainment


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Importance of prior attainment

12

12

11

65


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Importance of prior attainment

2

12

4

12

6

11

87

65


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Importance of prior attainment


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Importance of prior attainment

4

19

7

15

8

10

81

56


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Material deprivation (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Material deprivation (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Material deprivation (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Material deprivation (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Material deprivation (females)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Material deprivation (females)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Material deprivation (females)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Material deprivation (females)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Parental education (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Parental education (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Parental education (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Parental education (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Parental education (females)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Parental education (females)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Parental education (females)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Parental education (females)


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Participation findings

Reduced chances of going into HE almost entirely due to academic factors

School characteristics and other dimensions also play a role

Conditional on history of prior attainment, social inequalities are negligible

All ethnic minorities far more likely to attend


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Quality of HE


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Background

Interested in not just whether you go, but where you go

Evidence that poorer/ethnic minority participants under-represented at top universities

Also has equity implications


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Raw social gradients

Income/deprivation


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Raw social gradients

Education


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Raw social gradients

Ethnicity


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Material deprivation (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Material deprivation (females)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Parental education (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Parental education (females)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Ethnicity (males)


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Explaining the gradient?

  • Ethnicity (females)


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Quality findings

Observable characteristics, specifically academic record, account for almost all of the social gradients

Still a slight gap at the top

Subject choice?

Unobserved heterogeneity?

Other aspects of application process?

Ethnic ‘penalties’ still reversed


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Conclusions

Massive social inequalities in HE

Even among those who attend

Can generally be explained by social inequalities in previous schooling

Socioeconomic class still matters


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Conclusions

Effective WP policies should target the divergence between rich and poor at school


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Conclusions

Effective WP policies should target the divergence between rich and poor at school

But when, and how, to intervene?

Post-16

EMA?

Summer schools?

Schools

Targeting resources?

Lotteries?

Early years

Nursery places?

Childcare?


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