Great class divide hits universities: Social chasm still exists between state and private school pupils

 

A social chasm still exists between state and private school pupils while at university, new research will claim today.

The findings of a research project jointly mounted by Bristol University and UWE Bristol (University of the West of England) will say this is largely triggered by accommodation costs - with students saying the more expensive university accommodation will be snapped up by those who are better off while poorer students will opt for cheaper accommodation.

“There was a social chasm between private and state school students, often exacerbated by university accommodation costs,” according to the report.  

The study of 40 students from each university also goes on to show that working class students have a very different experience of university life than their middle class counterparts.

“The team found that getting in to university was seen as normal, even expected for many middle class youngsters while for working class students it was usually a choice that required more consideration, effort and strategic planning and was often a hope rather than an expectation,” says the report.

“Many working-class parents were unable to help with the university application process but did provide emotional support and encouragement.”

It adds: “Once at university working-class students faced considerable economic hardships, while middle-class students were cushioned by their parents’ financial support.

“Financial constraints limited working-class students in terms of extra-curricular activities - with many of them having to work in mundane jobs during term-time - unlike a lot of those from wealthier backgrounds.”

However, one bonus point for the more disadvantaged students was that their experiences instilled in them a sense of resilience which stood them in good stead when they entered the world of work.

Middle class students, though, were far more able to draw upon family resources and had access to influential social networks to help them get work experience or internships while they studied - crucial in accessing employment.

The researchers also found that female students at both universities were more likely to limit their career aspirations through considering childcare.

Professor Harriet Bradley, professor of employment research at UWE Bristol who led the research, added:  “Our main finding is that class and gender make a difference to the way the benefits of a university education are accessed.

“We found that the social, cultural and economic capital that middle class students arrive at university with can be used to smooth the path through university and into work at the end.

“For example, some students had a network of connections with relevant professions acquired through family prior to university - along with economic capital which provided a financial buffer during their university career.

“These were not evenly distributed amongst students from the outset and the presence or absence of these factors had an effect on the way students were able to use the opportunities on offer at both universities.”

One thing both sets of students were agreed upon, though, was that few felt they were getting value for money now fees had soared to up to £9,000 a year.

Meanwhile, the head of a City-based charity dedicated to aiding disadvantaged students has hit out  at the current “obsession” that all school leavers should be aiming for a university place.

Sir John Stuttard, former Mayor of London who has just been chosen as Master-elect for the Company of Educators, said: “We have the prospect of many graduates leaving university with large debts and with degrees in subjects that give little or no career choice - other than to work in coffee shops or bars.”

Sir John bemoaned the demise of the former polytechnics, saying: “It was a sad day when the technical colleges were made into universities.  It encouraged them to turn their backs on vocational education.”

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
newsJohn Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
News
i100
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
News
Bey can do it: Beyoncé re-enacts Rosie the Riveter's pose
newsRosie the Riveter started out as an American wartime poster girl and has become a feminist pin-up. With Beyoncé channeling her look, Gillian Orr tells her story
Life and Style
Donna and Paul Wheatley at their wedding
healthShould emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SEN IT Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: IT EBD Teacher job in Runco...

SEN Maths Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Maths EBD Teacher job in Run...

SEN Maths Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Maths EBD Teacher job in Run...

SEN Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teachers required, vario...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?

Some couples are allowed emergency hospital weddings, others are denied the right. Kate Hilpern reports on the growing case for a compassionate cutting of the red tape
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for