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Exploring ethnic inequalities in admission to Russell Group universities

Boliver, V.

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This article analyses national university applications and admissions data to explore why ethnic minority applicants to Russell Group universities are less likely to receive offers of admission than comparably qualified white applicants. Contrary to received opinion, the greater tendency of ethnic minorities to choose highly numerically competitive degree subjects only partially accounts for their lower offer rates from Russell Group universities relative to white applicants with the same grades and ‘facilitating subjects’ at A-level. Moreover, ethnic inequalities in the chances of receiving an admissions offer from a Russell Group university are found to be greater in relation to courses where ethnic minorities make up a larger percentage of applicants. This latter finding raises the possibility that some admissions selectors at some Russell Group universities may be unfairly rejecting a proportion of their ethnic minority applicants in an attempt to achieve a more ethnically representative student body.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 24, 2015
Online Publication Date May 12, 2015
Publication Date Apr 1, 2016
Deposit Date Mar 24, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 31, 2015
Journal Sociology
Print ISSN 0038-0385
Electronic ISSN 1469-8684
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Issue 2
Pages 247-266
Keywords Ethnicity, Fair access, Russell Group universities.
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (Revised version) (407 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Revised version

Accepted Journal Article (310 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Boliver, V. (2016) 'Exploring ethnic inequalities in admission to Russell Group universities.', Sociology., 50 (2). pp. 247-266. © The Author(s) 2015. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

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