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Study highlights wealth gap in university access

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Young people from richer areas are more likely to get degrees, says the study

Young people in some of the wealthiest areas of England are 18 times more likely to go to university than those in the poorest, suggests new analysis.

The charity Teach First compared official child poverty figures with university participation rates.

In parts of Derbyshire, only one in 20 young people progressed to university in 2015, compared with more than 80% in parts of Buckinghamshire, it says.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said the figures were improving.

“Recent UCAS data shows that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to go to university than ever before, but we agree there is more to do,” said Mr Johnson.

The study drew on figures from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to highlight the area of Shirebrook in North West Derbyshire, where just 4.8% of young people started university in 2015.

By contrast, the area with the highest university entrants was Gerrards Cross North in Buckinghamshire, at 87.2%.

On average, the researchers found that in the most deprived 10% of postcodes about 20% of young people went to university in 2015, compared with about half of those in the least deprived 10%.

In the report, Teach First says young people from the poorest backgrounds are constantly held back by social mobility hurdles their wealthier peers do not face.

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