Aston leads the way for state school participation

24 July 2007 – for immediate release

Aston University has a higher percentage of state school pupils than any other Top 20 UK university1, according to a new report.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) figures show that 89% of students starting full-time first degree courses at Aston in 2005-6 came from state school backgrounds. Furthermore, it means that Aston has surpassed its 86.8% benchmark for intake of state school pupils – a target which is set each year by HEFCE. To put this achievement into context, only three other top 20-ranked institutions in the Times Good University Guide 2007 had state school participation rates of over 80% and only two of those – Leicester and Cardiff – exceeded their benchmarks.

The same report also revealed that Aston had a lower dropout rate than its benchmark. Only 5.6% of Aston’s students chose not to continue their degree course after their first year, against a target of 6.1%, indicating that Aston is successfully retaining, as well as recruiting, students.

Aston’s Director of Marketing, Stewart Comfort, who is responsible for student recruitment, outreach and widening participation activities at the University, said, ‘This is terrific news for everybody at Aston who works so hard to encourage students from all backgrounds to aspire to study at degree level. Aston has a long tradition of success in recruiting students from state schools and it is pleasing to see this continue. The low dropout rates are equally heartening because we take great pains to ensure that students have the academic and pastoral support they need to thrive and be happy here.’

Aston has managed to achieve these figures whilst also improving academic quality. Entry grades to the University have been increasing year on year, rising from 313 UCAS points in 2002 to an estimated 360+ in 2006. At the same time, the University has climbed up the league tables, coming 13th and 19th in the Times and Guardian Good University Guides 2007 respectively.


Note to editors:

1. Based on the Times Good University Guide 2007 rankings.

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