Poorer students are more than three times as likely to live at home while studying for a degree than their wealthier peers, according to a new study by the Sutton Trust.
The report, Home and Away: social, ethnic and spatial inequalities in student mobility, uses official university data to examine whether students who go to university are “commuters” (i.e. remain at the family home) or “movers” (i.e. leave their homes to live closer to their place of study).
More than half (55.8%) of young people in the academic year 2014/15 stayed in their local area during their time at university, attending institutions that were less than 55 miles from their home address, The Independent reports.
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The report found that former state school students are two and a half times more likely to live at home compared to those who go to private schools. British Pakistani and British Bangladeshi students are over six times more likely than white students to continue living at the family home.
The report claims that moving long distances to study for a degree is an option only for “white, middle class, privately educated young people”. It argues that student mobility is a “major issue of inequality” in higher education.
Times Higher Education writes that, as well as calling on selective universities to consider reserving a proportion of places for local working-class students, the report recommends that institutions consider “more flexible timetabling of lectures in cases where there are large increases in student commuters”.
Dr Michael Donnelly of the University of Bath, who co-authored the study, said: “Whilst moving away is not for everyone, some of the most disadvantaged young people could be being prevented from accessing new opportunities and social networks further afield, or developing important life skills through living independently – further damaging chances for social mobility.”
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