According to new analysis from Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), it is not the prestigious universities such as Oxford and Cambridge topping the charts for equality and diversity; in fact, it is less elite institutions.
University of Hull beats Oxbridge in equality ranking https://t.co/iBiRHYaYPU
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) April 4, 2018
The rankings put Cambridge, St Andrews, Bristol and Oxford at the bottom of the table based on calculations for admissions of an equal intake of rich and poor students.
Top 10 universities for class equality
- Edge Hill
- Plymouth College of Art
- York St John
- Leeds Beckett
- Anglia Ruskin
- Cardiff Metropolitan
Bottom 10 universities for class equality
- St Andrews
- Robert Gordon
- Imperial College London
The BBC reported Anglia Ruskin Vice-Chancellor Iain Martin saying that, despite ongoing efforts across the UK to allow equal access to higher education, “we do not have an educational level playing field”.
HEPI director Nick Hillman claimed learning outcomes are significantly improved when students from many different backgrounds study alongside each other.
“This analysis reveals which universities reflect our society best and those which have further to travel,” Hillman said.
“The best way to deliver fairer access to selective institutions is the same as the best way to deliver widening participation overall, which is to provide more places.”
— Higher Education Policy Institute (@HEPI_news) April 4, 2018
Cambridge University responded to the rankings claiming the data is not representative of the overall picture, focusing primarily on the location of the students as an indicator of wealth.
The spokesperson claimed Cambridge runs outreach programs for disadvantaged groups and is significantly improving its diversity with over 20 percent of students describing themselves as an ethnic minority.
As many universities from the UK’s Russell Group are ranked as having the worst rates of class equality, a spokesperson for the group said its universities were “fully committed to encouraging students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter and succeed in higher education”.
Cambridge also highlighted the HEPI analysis is reductive, while stating that “widening participation in higher education is a complex issue”.