UWE Bristol in top rankings for widening access

Media Relations Team, 03 March 2021

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Exterior of Business School building in campus setting with four students walking towards it in foreground.

UWE Bristol has ranked highly for its intake of students from under-represented groups according to new data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

The university ranked 9th in the UK and 1st in the South West for the number of students enrolled from under-represented groups.

Results showed that in 2019–20, UWE Bristol enrolled more than 4,400 young, full-time undergraduate students from state schools and colleges and 745 from low participation neighbourhoods; areas where young people are least likely to pursue higher education. In total, 94.4% of UWE Bristol’s young, UK full-time undergraduate entrants in 2019–20 were from state schools compared to a UK average of 90.1%.

The data also revealed that 9.2% of full-time undergraduate students at UWE Bristol in 2019–20 were in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), compared to the UK average for universities of 7.0%.

Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, Professor Steve West, said: ‘‘We are proud to be a diverse and inclusive university which celebrates differences and provides opportunities for people from all backgrounds. UWE Bristol is committed to working with local communities to remove barriers and increase access to higher education, enabling young people to realise their aspirations and fulfil their potential. Through education, we believe we can create a fairer and more equal society where everyone has the chance to thrive.’’

Over the years UWE Bristol has introduced a range of widening participation initiatives designed to improve access to higher education for people from under-represented groups, including the highly successful Future Quest outreach programme. Led by UWE Bristol and funded by the Office for Students, the programme is a Bristol-area partnership of higher education providers, schools, colleges, employers and local authorities, all working collaboratively to encourage young people to progress into university.

The scheme targets areas of the city where students are less likely to progress to university and equips young people with knowledge of and pathways to higher education alongside key skills that can help them in the future.

Some of the Future Quest outreach activities include: a mentoring scheme for post-16 students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds; a programme to support 350 disadvantaged young people to progress into the fields of medicine, pharmacy and allied health professions; and the #IAmFirstGen campaign which connects young people who are first in their families to go to university with relatable role models, networks and practical support.

Since its foundation in January 2017, Future Quest has engaged with over 11,000 students from more than 40 schools across Bristol.

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