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Increase in third level entrants from wealthier backgrounds

Equal access data from the Higher Education Authority has shown that third level entrants from the top three socio-economic backgrounds continue to increase, with those from less wealthy background dropping off.

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EQUAL ACCESS DATA from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has shown that the greatest increase in those entering third level are from families with jobs that tend to be better paid.

Students from 27 third level institutions throughout Ireland responded to the HEA’s equal access survey questionnaire. Of the 40,107 students which entered these institutions for the academic year 2011-2012, there was a response rate of 60 per cent.

Of these, 18.9 per cent were found to come from families where at least one parent was an employer or manager. This was in increase of one percentage point (the largest increase over the two years) on the previous year, which was 17.9 per cent.

Students of higher professionals , such as doctors, also increased, up to 11 per cent from 10.7 per cent.

The greatest drop over the two years were from those who stated that their parents were otherwise employed which, at just 15 per cent for 2011-2012 was down 1.8 per cent on the 16.8 per cent in 2010-2011.

(Socio-Economic group of respondents – HEA Higher Education Key Facts and Figures 2011/12)

When the socio-economic groups were broken down by type of third level institution, those from the top three socio-economic groups were also shown to have the greatest migration from non-universities to universities.

(Socio-Economic group of sector – HEA Higher Education Key Facts and Figures 2011/12)

Read: The HEA proposes merging 39 colleges into 24 >

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Paul Hyland

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