Sheffield Hallam educates more students from under-represented backgrounds than any other UK university

17th February 2021

Sheffield Hallam University has more students from under-represented and low-participation backgrounds than any other university in the UK for the fifth year running.

New data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows that in the year academic year 2019-2020, Sheffield Hallam enrolled over 1,300 students from what are known as low participation neighbourhoods – those which are most under-represented in higher education.

The recently released data shows that, 23 per cent of Hallam’s students are from low participation backgrounds compared to the UK average of just under 12 per cent.

Sheffield Hallam University is committed to widening participation in higher education of students from disadvantaged and under-represented groups including:

  • students from areas of low higher education participation, low household income or low socioeconomic status
  • some Black, Asian and minority ethnic students
  • mature students
  • disabled students
  • care leavers
  • carers
  • people estranged from their families
  • people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities
  • refugees
  • children from military families

The University’s Widening Participation and Outreach team works with schools, colleges and in community settings to support young people and their families understand higher education and develop skills and knowledge that support progression.

There is also specific support for potential students who face additional, and often multiple, barriers to attending university including young carers, care experienced, estranged and mature students.

Sheffield Hallam University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Chris Husbands, said: “We know that the pandemic is having its most severe impact on some of the most vulnerable communities. There has never been a more important moment to demonstrate the transformative impact higher education can have.

“I am extremely proud that Sheffield Hallam continues to lead the way in removing barriers and opening up opportunities, making it possible for those from all backgrounds to choose higher education and shape their own futures.”

The University also works collaboratively on local, regional and national outreach initiatives with a range of partners such as The University of Sheffield, The Higher Education Progression Partnership (HEPP), The National Collaborative Outreach Programme in South Yorkshire (HeppSY+), local authorities, charities and voluntary organisations.

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