Aston's doors are widening for state students

3 November 2004

Aston's doors are widening for state students

ASTON UNIVERSITY, ranked the 13th best higher education institute in the UK*, is at the forefront of widening participation in the Midlands, recruiting over 90%** of their students from state schools, proving young people can attend a top university despite their background.

As revealed by the BBC yesterday, analysis by The Sutton Trust has revealed that leading UK universities are recruiting a higher number of students from state schools, with figures rising from 61% in 1997 to 68% in 2002***. Regardless of Aston's high league table rankings, low drop out rate, exceptional graduate employment record, high entry requirements and having one of the top ten business schools in Europe, the university still comes significantly higher than other top-twenty universities with their 90.6% state school intake.

In the Midlands area, despite coming nine places above Birmingham University in this year's Guardian University League Tables and only five places below Warwick, Aston still recruits over 10% more state school students than these other two regional higher education institutions.

The key to Aston's success lies within its extensive widening participation, schools liaison and outreach work, which has been firmly established for 13 years.

'One of the main barriers for some state school students thinking of going into higher education is a lack of awareness and role models,' explains Emma Mylett, Widening Participation Officer at the University. 'Here at Aston we do lots of outreach work with local primary and secondary schools and colleges to try to raise awareness, attainment and aspirations. This includes undergraduate student tutors and mentors who help out in local schools, Active Community Engagement (ACE) which brings significant benefits to communities suffering from the effects of social and economic deprivation and summer schools.'

Aston's compact, friendly campus and great reputation for employment and courses are other factors which encourage students of all backgrounds to attend the university.

James Seymour, School and College Liaison Officer at Aston said: 'We are proud to recruit students from many different backgrounds and all our students, whether they come from a state or a private school, can feel confident in succeeding at Aston, making lots of fantastic friends, and graduating with a high quality degree.'

* Source: The Guardian University League Tables 2004

** Source: HESA

*** Sources: HESA, HEFCE and the Sutton Trust.

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Written by Babs Coombes. For further information please contact me on 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

For further information please visit www.suttontrust.com

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research