Rainbow UK Higher Education

Striving to Promote Equality and Diversity in UK Higher Education

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Oxford University accused of bias against ethnic minority applicants

Oxford University has been accused of “institutional bias” against black and minority ethnic students after figures revealed that white applicants to some of the most competitive courses are up to twice as likely to get a place as others, even when they get the same A-level grades.

Figures for applications to the university in 2010 and 2011, obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that 25.7% of white applicants received an offer to attend the university, compared with 17.2% of students from ethnic minorities.

White applicants to medicine, one of the most prestigious courses, were twice as likely to get a place as minority ethnic candidates, even when they had the same triple A* grade A-level scores.

Older figures for Cambridge university suggested a similar pattern.

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, who has been a vocal critic of the university application system, said the figures suggested “institutional bias” and proved institutional failure.

Both Oxford and Cambridge, the country’s most prestigious universities, have faced questions over the varying success rates of applicants from different ethnic groups. The gap has often been explained as being due in large part to the fact that students from ethnic minorities are more likely to apply for the most competitive courses, such as medicine.

via Oxford University accused of bias against ethnic minority applicants | Education | The Guardian.

Oxford University settles ‘selection by wealth’ case

Oxford University is to review its postgraduate admissions policy after settling a case with a student who sued one of its colleges for discriminating against the poor.

The university will re-examine a policy under which its colleges select students not just on academic merit, but on their ability to prove they have the up-front resources to pay tens of thousands of pounds for both tuition fees and living expenses.

The review will come too late for thousands who have been unable to study at the university due to the “financial guarantee”, but it may help those seeking to join Oxford this September.

Across the sector, the latest figures show that domestic students are increasingly finding postgraduate study too expensive. Almost 16,000 fewer British students started postgraduate courses at UK universities in 2011-12 compared with the previous academic year – an 8% drop, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency

via Oxford University settles ‘selection by wealth’ case | Education | guardian.co.uk.

Headmaster accuses Oxbridge of ‘discrimination’ against public school pupils applying for university places

Public school pupils are being discriminated against when they apply for places at Oxford and Cambridge, a leading headmaster has claimed.Dr Anthony Seldon, the Master of the prestigious Wellington College described the ‘hostility’ towards these students as ‘the hatred that dare not speak its name.’There are cases of some parents allegedly putting their children into local state sixth forms to give them a better chance of getting into Oxbridge.

via Headmaster accuses Oxbridge of ‘discrimination’ against public school pupils applying for university places | Mail Online.

Top universities face accusations of discrimination

Pupils from state schools and ethnic minorities are less likely to obtain an offer from one of the country’s top universities than their white, privately educated peers even when they achieve the same A-level grades, a study has found.

Research by Durham University that will be published in the British Journal of Sociology in June found that state school pupils needed up to one grade higher than their peers at fee-paying schools to stand the same chance of receiving an offer from members of the Russell Group, the 24 most prestigious universities in the UK.

Dr Vikki Boliver, the author of the study, found that black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils also required up to one grade higher at A-level than their white counterparts to stand the same chance of receiving an offer.

The study looked at 49,000 university applications between 1996 and 2006. The research found state school pupils were as likely to apply to Russell Group universities as their privately educated peers only if they had two higher A-level grades.

“Access … is far from ‘fair’,” Boliver said. “We need not only to continue the widening participation work already being undertaken but also to take a closer look at the admissions process.”

The Russell Group said students from ethnic minorities were more likely to apply for the most competitive courses, such as medicine and economics, which required the highest grades. It said many good students at state schools had not studied the subjects required for its courses.

via Top universities face accusations of discrimination | Education | The Guardian.