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First-in-Family Students

  • 6 January 2022
  • By Harriet Coombs
  • HEPI number 146

First-in-family students make up a majority of young first- degree students yet face a number of challenges. So they are now the focus of many specific interventions in the UK and the USA.

This report looks at the pros and cons of using first-in-family as a key measure of disadvantage. It argues that, while it is an appropriate metric for low-level activity, it is not robust enough for higher stakes initiatives, such as contexualised admissions, where it needs to be supplemented with additional information.

The paper ends with some top-level policy recommendations aimed at helping first-in-family students while not limiting the ambitions of others.

1 comment

  1. Paivi Eerola says:

    Where does she take her main criticism: “first-in-family […] metric […] is not robust enough for higher stakes initiatives, such as contexualised admissions, where it needs to be supplemented with additional information”? She refers to Major & Tompkins blog post (2021), who list 18 contextualised admissions indicators by 24 Russell Group universities. Only four universities use it at all and they use it among 5-8 other criteria.

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