Universities failing to close BAME student attainment gap – UUK

A joint report from UUK and the NUS has said providers have ‘fallen behind’ the public sector in addressing racial inequalities

Universities have “fallen behind” the public sector in addressing BAME inequalities, a joint report from UUK and the NUS has concluded.

The report says the HEI sector must “demonstrate their commitment to university-wide change” if they are to address the gap between white and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students.

White students are 13 per cent more likely to achieve a first or 2:1 degree than their peers from an BAME background.

The gap between white and black students’ attainment is larger. In 2017, 81 per cent of white students achieved a first or 2:1, compared to only 57 per cent of black students.

While the report said some providers have made “considerable effort”, it emphasises the gap cannot be closed without “sustained work”. UUK and the NUS said they will review performance in summer 2020.

The report, led by Valerie Amos, has recommended five proposals and calls on vice-chancellors to provide strong leadership, change internal cultures, create “a sense of belonging” for BAME students and research better strategies underpinned by more data.

Commenting on the report, Lady Amos said: “Our universities are racially and culturally diverse, compared to many other sectors, but we are failing a generation of students if we don’t act now to reduce the BAME attainment gap.

“While many universities are proactive on the issue, this report and its recommendations aims to deliver transformation in our sector. It is important that universities act and are transparent in their approach so black, Asian and minority ethnic students are given the best chance of success. Inaction is not an option. Universities should be places where opportunity and aspiration come together.”


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