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January 2005/03
Research report

This report is for information

Young participation in higher education

This report looks at young participation in higher education, that is the proportion of young people who entered higher education over the period 1994-2000. For the first time it provides measures that are accurate enough to monitor changes in overall participation rates year on year, and to monitor differences in participation between young people from advantaged and disadvantaged backgrounds. Patterns of young participation are set out in detail, with measures of the experiences of young people before, during and after their time in higher education.

The report defines the most and least advantaged families according to where they live. Web-based maps showing these local patterns of participation (known as POLAR – Participation of Local Areas) are also available.

January 2010: Updated results on young participation can be found in HEFCE 2010/03 'Trends in young participation in higher education: core results for England'.

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions
Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges
Of interest to those responsible for: Widening participation, policy development
Reference: 2005/03
Publication date: January 2005
Enquiries to: Mark Corver
tel 0117 931 7127

Reading the report

This report is structured so that it can be read on a number of levels:

  • the Foreword describes the overall purpose of the study, in the context of HEFCE’s policies for widening participation in higher education
  • the Summary and key findings section gives a condensed version of the core results
  • taken together, the Introduction (Section 1) and Conclusions (Section 5) are designed to give the general reader an understanding of the conduct and main conclusions of the study
  • the main Results of the work are set out in Sections 2-4. These look at national patterns (Section 2), trends in participation for advantaged and disadvantaged areas (Section 3), and the characteristics of such areas and of the young people living there who go into HE (Section 4)
  • finally the Annexes provide supporting technical information on the methodology adopted and factors that might affect the results.

The downloads below are divided up to reflect this structure.


Whole report
[ Adobe PDF 2.6Mb | Zipped PDF 2.3Mb ]

Foreword, summary and key findings
[ Adobe PDF 58K | Zipped PDF 48K ]

Introduction and conclusions
[ Adobe PDF 92K | Zipped PDF 64K ]

[ Adobe PDF 570K | Zipped PDF 506K ]

[ Adobe PDF 1.3Mb | Zipped PDF 1.1Mb ]