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Image: Jnn13 [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

A campaign founded by the former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, could help UK universities address their slow progress on widening participation. 

Statistics published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) on 7 February show progress in improving access for disadvantaged students to university continues to be slow. Across the UK, 11.6 per cent of students were from a low-participation neighbourhood in 2017-18, a percentage point increase from the previous year of just 0.2.

Among universities with the highest entry standards, the story is similar. Although there have been slight improvements, the eight English universities with the highest entry standards—the University of Bath, the University of Bristol, the University of Cambridge, Durham University, Imperial College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of Oxford and University College London—still have a long way to go. 

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