The Higher Education Statistics Agency has discovered that just under 1 in 12 students admitted to the University of Southampton are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
This is an improvement from 2017-2018 when only 7.7% of University of Southampton students were from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, this was below the UK average of 11.4%. These statistics are based upon students under the age of 21 who began a full-time undergraduate course.
The Office For Students has set diversity targets for the UK’s top universities for the next five years. If a university fails to meet these targets they may face financial penalties.
The Director of social mobility charity Impetus, Dr Maria Neophytou is sceptical that there will be any dramatic change within the next five years:
Over the last five years the gap has barely changed, yet universities are telling the Office for Students that over the next five years, they will halve this gap.
A University of Southampton spokesperson has responded that 87% of full-time undergraduates are state-educated, the fourth highest in the Russell Group. The University was also one of the first to introduce contextual offers to students attending schools or living in areas where higher education participation is lower. The Southern Universities Network also encourages under-represented children at schools and colleges to apply for higher education.