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Omar Khan considers how to reduce inequalities in university participation

I don’t recall the first time I thought about going to university, but my parents were definitely a key influence. At the time, they were fairly rare: each was the first in their family to attend higher education, and across Britain the higher education participation rate remained below 10 per cent until the 1970s, when they completed their degrees.

By my generation, in the late 1990s, attending higher education had become a more typical choice, with a participation rate of more than 30 per cent by around 2000. This trend has continued, with the most recent data released last week showing that more people (53 per cent) now attend higher education by age 30 than don’t.

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