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HE reforms likely to reinforce, not remove, the class divide

Claire Callender

The White Paper’s title, Higher Education: Students at the heart of the system, is both beguiling and misleading. Not all students will be, or can be, at the heart of higher education and, given the restriction on numbers, some qualified would-be students will never get to university. So which students will be at its heart?

Universities wanting to expand are likely to focus their energies and resources on wooing students who are ‘off-quota’—those gaining AAB grades or better at A-level. Most such students will come from privileged and affluent backgrounds, many from private and selective secondary schools. Will students from the opposite end of the social and achievement spectrum be at the hub of this new student-centric, marketised world of higher education? It is unlikely.

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