Access to higher education among lower socio-economic groups: a historical perspective

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A commitment to greater participation in higher education by those from lower socioeconomic groups has existed for more than a century. However, many of the barriers that were present at the beginning of the twentieth century, including under-attainment, a lack of aspiration and admissions criteria, still featured in policy documents almost a hundred years later. This may suggest that little real progress has been made. By analysing and comparing policy documents from the early twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, this article considers the extent to which the ways of thinking about the question of access to higher education for those from lower socioeconomic groups has changed during the twentieth century.


Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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  • The Journal of Access Policy and Practice informs and supports development in access and widening participation. It explores education policy and practice as it affects access to learning and surveys the field, both nationally and internationally. Informed by theory and current research the journal shares ideas and practical solutions to create wider and deeper participation in lifelong learning and offers a space for practitioners and academics to critically reflect and debate different perspectives.
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