Posted Wednesday 1 December 2021
Kingston University has been ranked in the top 10 universities in the United Kingdom for social mobility in a new research report that provides a clear picture on the role of higher education in social mobility.
The Which university degrees are best for intergenerational mobility? report has been produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in partnership with the Sutton Trust and the Department for Education. It ranks the nation's universities in terms of their social mobility contributions, based on the number of students from low-income backgrounds at the university and whether those students moved up to the top of the income ladder.
Kingston University – which was shortlisted in the University of the Year category at the 2019 Social Mobility Awards and named University of the Year by NEON (National Education Opportunities Network) in both 2016 and 2017 – was ranked number 10 in the UK, reflecting its ongoing work across the student lifecycle to advance equality of opportunity and outcomes in higher education.
Through its comprehensive outreach programme, the University collaborates with schools, colleges, charities and other education providers, providing impartial information and advice to encourage learners of all ages and backgrounds to consider higher education for their future.
Every year some 300 students are mentored by industry professionals through the Beyond Barriers scheme. The Broadening Horizons programme supports students to complete 12-week consultancy projects for local employers, and the University's award-winning Elevate programme provides tailored careers support for Black students.
Its Head Start programme prepares students from underrepresented groups for the move to higher education. Head Start is designed to familiarise students with campus life and provide information about the support services available, as well as giving them an opportunity to make friends before they start.
The University's KU Cares scheme has been widely praised by Government Ministers and celebrated its 15 year anniversary in 2021. KU Cares provides support for care leavers, students experiencing estrangement and young adult carers – through financial assistance, access to year-round accommodation and work placement opportunities, as well as a dedicated team to support students.
Meanwhile, the University's award-winning Inclusive Curriculum Framework ensures students see themselves, their experiences and backgrounds reflected in the curriculum. Staff across the University's faculties use the framework, which is underpinned by robust data, to identify and address differences in progression and attainment. This approach has resulted in the University making huge strides in reducing the BAME attainment gap.
The University's Head of Access, Participation and Inclusion, Jenni Woods, said: "Kingston is proud to be one of the top 10 universities for social mobility. This not only reflects the value we place on diversity within higher education, but our commitment to ensuring that students from all backgrounds who study with us are supported to achieve their academic goals and career aspirations."
The social mobility research examined vast quantities of data on young people who attended university in the mid-2000s and recently turned 30, comparing their socio-economic background, education pathways and adult salaries.
Eligibility for Free School Meals at 16 years of age was used as the marker of disadvantage, while adult earnings are measured at age 30, allowing time for careers to develop.