New figures expose class divide in higher education

New figures appear to show that well-off families still have a firm grip on university places, despite the rapid expansion of higher education and the introduction of ‘free fees’ two decades ago, writes Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times.

The bulk of the growing numbers attending third level in recent decades has been concentrated on institutes of technology. Our top universities, on the other hand, seem to have retained their reputation as bastions of privilege.

This is despite numerous access initiatives and attempts to broaden student intake. The figures are important for policy-makers seeking to promote greater equality of opportunity. As well as having an educational advantage, middle-class students are far more able to draw upon family resources and have access to influential social networks to help them land work experience or internships while they study.
Full report on The Irish Times site