The UK’s overall university enrolment numbers have continued to climb despite the 2006 introduction of increased tuition fees (called top-up fees). As The Guardian reports, the news is not quite as rosy for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds:
The introduction of top-up fees in 2006 has not dented the rise in numbers of students starting university but increases in the proportion from the poorest homes have stalled, according to a report from the universities umbrella group.
The number of first-time undergraduates has increased substantially every year since 2004 but the proportion from the poorest areas, or of ethnic minorities which are under-represented at university, has hardly changed despite a multi-million pound drive by the government to counter the effect of higher fees.
The findings prove the fears of critics of the top-up fees, which triggered one of Tony Blair’s biggest ever rebellions in 2004, with fewer students from disadvantaged backgrounds going to university than the government had hoped for.