Social inequalities in higher education retention

This project aimed to assess whether there is an association between social class and retention, and, if so, whether this effect can be explained by the choice of field of study or choice of institution. Does the attendance at different higher education institutions and the study of different curricula affect the progression of people from different social groups? Is the degree of social inequalities in student retention associated to national institutional factors such HE recruitment policies and widening participation policies? For this analysis, we used rich administrative data on students in higher education from the UK (HESA) and Ireland (HEA).

The data used were administrative UK HESA student records and data from the Irish HEA student record system.

Policy relevance:
This research aimed to inform policy-makers and practitioners about the extent of student retention in the UK and its relation with social inequalities and the potential mechanisms that account for such inequalities.

Cristina Iannelli

Emer Smyth
Selina McCoy
Patricia McMullin

Image c/o Flickr – Strevo