Special Issue "Widening Participation in Higher Education"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2015) | Viewed by 20961

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Anna Vignoles
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Education and Jesus College, University of Cambridge, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8PQ, UK
Interests: economics of education; equity in education; economic value of education; widening participation in higher education; quantitative methods
Prof. Dr. Neil Murray
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Applied Linguistics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
Interests: language assessment; English for academic purposes; English language policy, regulation and practice in Higher Education; English language proficiency and academic literacy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Despite decades of effort in many OECD countries to widen participation in higher education (HE), for the most part, very stark socio-economic and ethnic inequalities in HE participation remain firmly entrenched. Although a range of widening participation initiatives have been attempted in most countries, ranging from national programs to small-scale charitable initiatives, the extent of their success has been highly variable. While some individual initiatives have been successful, this has not been reflected more generally, and the aspirations driving the widening participation agenda have not been realized to the extent hoped and envisioned. In this Special Issue of Education Sciences we seek to publish research on why widening participation efforts and attempts to secure fair access have not led to more success. We also invite contributions that provide insights in to how we might make more progress on what is a complex and, for some, contentious issue. We seek rigorous research papers that address these issues using a range of methodologies, and we welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions. We particularly encourage researchers to submit work looking at these issues in a range of different country contexts or indeed taking a comparative perspective.

Anna Vignoles
Neil Murray
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • widening participation,
  • fair access
  • inequalities education achievement

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Widening Participation in Higher Education
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci6020013 - 01 Apr 2016
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 5241
Abstract
Higher education (HE) has the potential to be transformative: for individuals, local communities and for the wider society.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Widening Participation in Higher Education)

Research

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Article
Deserving Poor: Are Higher Education Bursaries Going to the Right Students?
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci6010005 - 24 Feb 2016
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2839
Abstract
After the abolition of student maintenance grants in 2016, higher education bursaries will be the major source of non-repayable aid for poor students in England, with £300 m spent per year. The aims of the bursary system were never explicitly laid out by [...] Read more.
After the abolition of student maintenance grants in 2016, higher education bursaries will be the major source of non-repayable aid for poor students in England, with £300 m spent per year. The aims of the bursary system were never explicitly laid out by government, making it challenging to evaluate this unique form of aid. In this paper, I examine the bursary system on the grounds of equity and efficiency, using a unique dataset collected from 22 universities. I show that the bursary system is inequitable; as a direct consequence of the decentralized nature of the system, there are vast inequalities in aid receipt among poor students. Nevertheless, I find that the poorest, most able students tend to receive the most bursary aid, suggesting the system could be seen as efficient. Clearer guidance from government on the purpose of bursaries is required in order to understand whether the system is meeting its aims, and how it could be improved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Widening Participation in Higher Education)
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Article
Does Higher Education Level the Playing Field? Socio-Economic Differences in Graduate Earnings
Educ. Sci. 2015, 5(4), 380-412; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci5040380 - 11 Dec 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3992
Abstract
Education—and in particular higher education—is often regarded as a route to social mobility. For this to be the case, however, the link between family background and adult outcomes must be broken (or at least reduced) once we take account of an individual’s education [...] Read more.
Education—and in particular higher education—is often regarded as a route to social mobility. For this to be the case, however, the link between family background and adult outcomes must be broken (or at least reduced) once we take account of an individual’s education history. This paper provides new evidence on differences in graduates’ earnings by socio-economic background, exploiting rich individual-level data to account for more of the ways in which graduates from different socio-economic backgrounds differ from each other than has been possible in previous research on this topic. We continue to find significant differences between the earnings of graduates from lower and higher socio-economic backgrounds, even after accounting for a rich array of characteristics, skills and experiences from before individuals went to university, as well as their labour market experiences subsequently. These results suggest that it is not enough simply to encourage more young people to go to university, or even to ensure that they graduate with “good” degrees; policymakers interested in increasing social mobility also need to focus on what happens to them once they leave university to ensure that higher education is truly able to “level the playing field” between those from different socio-economic backgrounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Widening Participation in Higher Education)
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Article
Will the Use of Contextual Indicators Make UK Higher Education Admissions Fairer?
Educ. Sci. 2015, 5(4), 306-322; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci5040306 - 20 Nov 2015
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 4313
Abstract
In the UK, as elsewhere, the use of ‘contextual’ data has been strongly advocated in order to inform undergraduate admissions decision-making. More than a third of UK universities currently take the socioeconomic or other background context of undergraduate applicants’ attainment into account when [...] Read more.
In the UK, as elsewhere, the use of ‘contextual’ data has been strongly advocated in order to inform undergraduate admissions decision-making. More than a third of UK universities currently take the socioeconomic or other background context of undergraduate applicants’ attainment into account when deciding whom to shortlist, interview, make standard or reduced offers to, or accept at confirmation or clearing. Even more universities plan to do so in the future. Contextualised admissions policies are considered by many commentators to be intrinsically fairer, and to represent a potentially powerful means of addressing the persistent under-representation of HE students from less advantaged backgrounds, but their impact has not yet been rigorously evaluated. In order to be effective, the indicators must be accurate, appropriate, and complete, and policies for their use must demonstrably widen participation, presumably without compromising student achievement. This paper reviews the indicators available for judging context, and the existing evidence base on how contextually-identified students perform in higher education. It illustrates the considerable difficulties of using any available indicators, alone or in combination, in terms of trustworthiness. And it explains how their use could introduce new injustices while tackling merely the symptoms of stratified participation in HE. This is far from a counsel of despair. We need to widen participation and the use of context stills shows considerable promise. The paper therefore presents the case for a new study by the authors, looking at which of the available contextual indicators are best in practice, and what difference their use would really make to widening participation at HE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Widening Participation in Higher Education)
Article
Teenagers’ Expectations of Applying to University: How do they Change?
Educ. Sci. 2015, 5(4), 281-305; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci5040281 - 11 Nov 2015
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4139
Abstract
We show how young people’s expectations about application to university change during the teenage years, drawing on the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE). We reveal the pattern of change by family background, prior attainment at the end of primary school [...] Read more.
We show how young people’s expectations about application to university change during the teenage years, drawing on the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE). We reveal the pattern of change by family background, prior attainment at the end of primary school (measured by Key Stage 2 tests) and, critically, the combination of the two. We document the relationship between expectations about university application and the decision on whether to stay on in full-time education at 16. We point to the importance of schools in sustaining or changing expectations. We relate the expectations reported by the teenagers in LSYPE to their actual university application decisions by age 20 or 21. Expectations are high but not universally high. Family background gaps in expectations widen during the teenage years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Widening Participation in Higher Education)
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