Ask the Expert: Social mobility and the geography of higher education choice

In this installment of our Ask the Expert series, Dr Michael Donnelly presented research on the geography of higher education choices and social mobility in the UK.

Whilst students from wealthier backgrounds tend to leave home to study at university, disadvantaged students remain far more likely to stay home whilst in higher education. This trend risks becoming entrenched and perpetuated as thousands of new students enter the education system, if left unaddressed. It presents a barrier to social mobility and future prospects, as it is predominantly privileged white, privately-educated, middle-class young people that study away from home.

Can more be done to address this trend? Are policymakers showing enough serious concern about this geographical barrier affecting young people’s access to higher education across the UK?


Dr Michael Donnelly, University of Bath, Senior Lecturer, Department of Education


James Kirkup, Social Market Foundation, Director

The SMF’s Ask The Expert series, in association with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); a part of UK Research and Innovation, brings academic research on public policy into the heart of Westminster.

Follow the series on Twitter via @SMFthinktank and @ESRC, #SMFask


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