University life is pretty hard. Most people go to a university away from home where they have to live independently for the first time, share a house with strangers, make friends if they don’t want to be a loner, and, more importantly, work the hardest they ever will in the history of their education. This is enough to make anyone super stressed but add tuition fees, the cost of accommodation and general life, then it’s no wonder people are dropping out. With university fees growing every year and the government not making any further attempts to support students from low-income backgrounds, many individuals are choosing not to continue with their studies after the first year.
Official data obtained by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA)have shown that the percentage of young people from disadvantaged homes who are leaving education has risen two years in a row. The most recent findings are from 2014/15, where these students made up 8.8% of the total, compared to those from the richest background which was less than 5%. The report comments on the triumph of more 'disadvantaged young people' in higher education, however, the number of students not making it to their second year is a massive problem.
The OFFA also found that ethnicity greatly influences your experience at university in many ways. Not only are black students 1.5 times more likely to drop out than their white and Asian peers, but their chances of obtaining a high-level degree is much lower as well. Only 52% of black students graduate with a degree that is a 2:1 or first which almost a third less than those who are white.
University gives individuals one of the best starting points for the rest of their lives, but this is limited by our position in society. The report says that: 'Higher education can be a transformational experience that opens doors to rewarding careers and social mobility, but this is only the case if students achieve successful outcomes.
Although some work has already been done, universities need to make more of an effort to ensure higher education is a more inclusive environment as these statistics show there is much more work to be done.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.