Access to Higher Education

Access to higher education is concerned with the historical and persistent under-representation of particular social groups. Educational policy has explicitly aimed to widen participation in higher education and create greater equity, often with specialized funding provided to universities with an expectation that they will develop activities and student support for target groups identified as disadvantaged. These groups differ in different country contexts, so for example in England and in Australia, policy aims to redress under-representation in relation to low socioeconomic status groups, whereas in the United States and South Africa, the focus tends to be on racial categories, in China on rural and remote communities, and in India on lower caste groups.

It has been argued that many countries have moved from an elite system of ...

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