Published on 26/11/2021
students in pharmacy at aston
  • Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis shows universities’ ‘mobility rates’
  • Aston University is one of only two universities outside of London and the surrounding area to make the top 20 for mobility
  • When adjusted for cost of living, Aston University is ranked 4th for mobility

Aston University has been recognised as a leading university for delivering social mobility for its students, according to new research.

The new report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Sutton Trust, a think tank on social mobility, has revealed which universities and degrees are best for ‘intergenerational mobility’. Researchers combined data on the number of university entrants who were eligible for free meals at school with figures on graduate earnings to determine a ‘mobility rate’. 

While London-based universities dominate the top 20, Aston University is one of only two institutions outside of the London area to make the top 20, coming 14th overall. 

Once the analysis is adjusted for cost of living, the researchers found that Aston University rises to 4th place. 

The analysis also looks at which subject areas perform best for social mobility. Aston University’s pharmacy is the only subject outside of the London area to feature in the top 20.

The research findings challenge the outdated assumption that it is the country’s most ‘elite’ universities which are the best route to achieving social mobility. 

This research follows another analysis published by the Higher Education Policy Institute, which ranked Aston University second in the country for making a significant contribution to social mobility. The paper, Designing an English Social Mobility Index, proposed a ranking of universities’ impact on social mobility and offers a methodology for comparing the contribution of individual English higher education providers to social mobility.

Saskia Loer Hansen, incoming Interim Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the new research:

“This research is further evidence of what we have known all along: an Aston University education transforms lives. I am pleased, and not at all surprised, to see that the University performs so strongly in this analysis.  At Aston University, we firmly believe that it is not just getting in that counts, it is about how students get on, and how far they go.”

Notes to editors
  • Three quarters of Aston University undergraduate students come from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds, which mirrors our city’s young diverse population.
  • 60% of our undergraduate students come from English Index of Multiple Deprivation quintiles 1&2 (the least advantaged areas in England).
  • Meanwhile, Aston University ranks alongside some of the most elite and selective universities in the country for student retention, while many more of our students come from the least advantaged areas in England.
  • Three quarters of Aston University students undertake a placement.
  • Around 80% of Aston graduates move into professional jobs or further study 15 months after completing their degrees (2022 Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide), and Aston University graduates are among the highest paid in the country five years after graduating (2021 Longitudinal Education Outcomes). 

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world. 

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7557 745416 or email:

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Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
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Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager
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Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager
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Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager

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