With social mobility at a standstill, universities are increasingly being seen as part of the problem and not the solution, with advantaged students still massively outnumbering disadvantaged students in the corridors of learning – especially in relation to the most selective institutions. Against this back-drop, the Office for Students is driving forward a major shake-up in how we regulate access and participation to ensure greater numbers of disadvantaged students enter higher education, thrive in their studies, and go on to good employment. But with a more sophisticated understanding of how privilege operates in society today, is it time to re-set the debate? What can universities do to open up opportunities for all irrespective of background? And how can they make sure their investment in widening participation and fair access really can be the game changer that it needs to be?
Shakira Martin, President, National Union of Students
Chris Millward, Director of Fair Access and Participation, Office for Students
Alan Rusbridger, Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford and former Editor-in-chief of the Guardian
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