Short and long term barriers to university education in England. What do expectation data tell us?

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ISER, University of Essex

Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE) and the National Pupil Database (NPD), this paper provides evidence on the role of short term and long-term barriers in determining the SES gap in university enrollment. We focus on the SES gap in expectations at age 14-15 over future university application and admission. To shed light on the role of short-term barriers we look at whether short-term costs of education affect the perceived likelihood of applying to university. To do this, we use quasi-random variation in family’s awareness of and access to available financial aid, namely the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA). To shed light on the role of long-term barriers we look at the determinants of perceived likelihood of being admitted to university. This likelihood is elicited conditional on university application, and thus it should not be affected by short-term costs of applying to university. We find evidence that both long-term and short-term barriers are in place.

equal opportunity in education, barriers to access higher education, social mobility