Working-class revolution not reaching posh unis

Posted on 28th September 2010 by Youth

A poll by OpinionPanel and the University of Leicester found that 14% of students from low-income homes would be deterred from applying to university if fees rose from the current level of £3,290 to £7,000, compared with 9% of those from better-off homes.

This study was mentioned in an article in The Guardian which starts:

Claire Lucas grew up in Cumbria, the daughter of a lorry driver and a housewife. Many of her friends and classmates left school to go to work in a local factory. Neither of her parents went to university, but Lucas decided she wanted to get a degree. Thanks to her teachers at Nelson Thomlinson school in Wigton, she felt confident enough to apply to Oxford University to study engineering. It was only after she took up her place that she realised this was actually quite a big deal.

“The only definition of posh where we grew up was being clever. I didn’t even contemplate the impact that [social class] would have when I got here,” says Lucas, who is now a year into her DPhil at St Cross College after completing her degree at Worcester College. “I became aware that there was a crowd of people who knew each other already. That the JCR and the union were mostly full of people who seemed to have experience in leadership – and therefore not normally working-class people. That I couldn’t afford to go on the varsity ski trip, and that some people’s parents bought them amazing houses to live in.” But despite all that, Lucas settled in well. “Luckily, I was encouraged to develop skill and confidence by very patient tutors”.

Read the full piece in The Guardian here.

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