Well-known universities, including Exeter, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge, have been found to have done the least to help people from of the most modest households, according to an analysis of Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which for the first time ranks higher education institutions in England on the basis of their contribution to social mobility.
The research comes as the government details new measures that would force universities in England to improve the performance of local schools and students, and do more to help their graduates find rewarding careers.
The IFS study found that Oxbridge and other universities very selective admit so few people from milletThese disadvantaged them find that their impact is more than offset by other institutions recruiting more low-income students and helping them pursue higher-paying careers after graduation.
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is the only example of a Russell Group member of leading universities with an outstanding track record both admitting a high proportion of 'students receiving free school meals and improving their career prospects.
Professor Colin Bailey, director of QMUL, said he was "incredibly proud " of the accomplishments of staff and students.
"Recruiting students from generally under-represented backgrounds in universities and helping them succeed is at the heart of everything we stand for as a university, "said Professor Bailey.
The IFS examined the educational, academic and professional backgrounds of nearly one million young people in England who took the GCSE exams between 2002 and 2006, and followed their careers up to the age of 30. years approximately. From the data, he constructed an index of social mobility, using the proportion of disadvantaged young people admitted to a university or course and their subsequent progression to employment in the top 20% of earnings.
"Despite very high success rates, we find that elite institutions do very poorly in terms of mobility rates, because they accept so few. low income students. Instead, lower to mid-tier institutions, often based in London, perform the best in terms of mobility, ”IFS said.
The University of Westminster admitted 22% of students who previously had free school meals, one in every qbe in a well-paid job, which gives him one of the highest social mobility rates of 5.6%. In contrast, Bristol University only admitted 1.2% of students previously on free school meals - meaning that despite more than 40% progressing to well-paying careers, her score was 0.4 %.
The IFS calculated that the average mobility rate across all universities in England was 1.3%, which it said , was "well below our benchmark rate of 4.4%, the rate you would get if there was equal access to university for all income groups ".
The figures also showed that the high average earnings of graduates did not equate to better social mobility. "It is plausible that policies that restrict the funding of low-yielding courses may have a cost in terms of social mobility," noted the IFS, in ref.erence to rumors that the government was seeking to reduce course funding based on graduates' earnings.
The Sutton Trust, which helped produce the research, has said they have shown that universities can be powerful vectors of social mobility and that graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds are much more likely to end up with a high income than those who do not go to university.
Si r Peter Lampl, the founder of the trust, said universities should "give young people from low-income backgrounds a break from the grades they need to get, because their grades, in many cases, do not reflect their potential ".
Michelle Donelan, University Minister for England, will unveil new efforts to involve higher education in the provision of private lessons and summer schools for all studentsves premises. The government also wants to put more emphasis on universities that help their graduates find qualified employment, and more support for students at risk of dropping out.
" We must send a message to all disadvantaged young people who are considering higher education that they will have the support of school, college and university to achieve this and achieve a positive result ", Donelan will say.
The Department of Education has also appointed John Blake, a former teacher who is currently the policy director of the Ark Schools Multi-Academy Trust. , as the new Director of Equitable Access and Participation in the Office for Students .