Higher education and social background

Publication type

Book Chapter


Peter Elias and Kate Purcell

Publication date


Prior to the period of expansion commencing in the late 1980s, participation in higher education in the UK was very much the preserve of the higher social groups. In 1962 almost three quarters of first degree students were from non-manual backgrounds, a proportion that had changed little over the preceding 30 years. Given the remarkable increase in the participation of young people in higher education that has taken place over the last 20 years, we investigate whether or not this expansion has broadened access to less privileged groups.


Social Groups, Social Stratification and Higher Education


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