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Black teens more likely to go to uni than white peers


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Application data from this year’s Ucas figure analysis show a huge gap in the application trends across the UK. 

Whilst Black and Asian school leavers are amongst the most likely to apply within ethnic minorities, Northern Irish teens are the most likely to have university dreams in the UK. Within England, it is London that has the most applicants.

After the initial dip in the number of people applying for university following the increase of tuition fees, the numbers across the data seem to indicate a long-term rise in university applicants for undergraduate courses in the UK.

Though the general figures seem to display a rise in submissions to UCAS, the numbers fail to take into account mature and part time students in addition to the acute variances behind the general trend. The figures are from an accumulation of applications 2004 to 2013.

Overall almost half of young people now apply for university places in the UK.  In England this rose from 36% to 44% between 2006 and 2010.

Mary Curnock Cook of UCAS says there are "eye-catching regional variations in demand.” This is affected by a number of factors including social background, class and gender.

A rise in the applications from ethnic minorities is particularly significant, especially from black teenagers which rose from 20% to 34%. Other rises are attributed to Chinese and Asian teens with 29% applying for coveted university places.

Curnock Cook acknowledges that there is a higher demand for black applicants but questions the decline in applications from white pupils in English schools. Nicola Dandridge from Universities UK stresses the importance of investigating why “young white men from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to apply.” She went on to say that it was “critical” that universities persisted to ensure “anyone with ability and potential to benefit from university education should have the opportunity to do so.”

Though those from the poorest income groups are still aspiring for places at universities, the most significant gaps can still be explained though social background. It is still the young people from the socio-economic backgrounds who remain four more times as likely to apply from their peers in the poorest regions.

Gender is still one of the biggest factors affecting the figures with females more likely to apply. In 2012 just under half of women applied compared with 38% of men.

Les Ebdon, director of the Office of Fair Access, is pleased with the narrowing gap between the rich and poor - but there are still problems to address. Universities UK highlighted the rise in tuition fees and the fact that mature and part time applicants were not accounted for in the figures

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokeswoman acknowledged these problems and said, "some challenges remain but no one should be put off going to university for financial reasons.

"Our reforms mean students do not have to pay fees upfront, there is more financial support for those from poorer families and everyone faces lower loan repayments once they are in well-paid jobs."

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