Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE)
Differences in student degree and employment outcomes
This report examines how outcomes vary for different student groups based on a range of factors including gender, disability, educational disadvantage, age, ethnicity and entry qualifications. For the first time this data also includes outcomes for BTEC students.
Differences in degree outcomes on the basis of gender, disability and educational disadvantage (Note 1) have remained fairly consistent over the last four years:
- 81 per cent of female graduates achieved a first or upper second class degree, compared with 76 per cent of male graduates
- 80 per cent of graduates without a disability achieved a first or upper second class degree, whereas for disabled graduates this figure is 77 per cent
- 83 per cent of graduates from the least disadvantaged areas achieved a first or upper second class degree, compared with 73 per cent of graduates from the most disadvantaged areas
- 79 per cent of young students, compared with 67 per cent of mature graduates, achieved a first class or upper second class degree.
There has been a small reduction in the difference in degree outcomes between different ethnic groups, but significant gaps still remain:
- 82 per cent of white graduates, 72 per cent of Asian graduates and 60 per cent of black graduates achieved a first or upper second class degree.
Degree outcomes for BTEC students
There is a clear relationship between degree classification and entry qualifications. The higher the entry grade, the higher the degree classifications.
The proportion of A-level students entering university with A*A*A* who gain a first or upper second class degree is 95 per cent, compared with 67 per cent for those with A-levels at CCD or below.
The proportion gaining a first or upper second class degree with three Distinction*s (D*D*D*) at BTEC is 71 per cent, and 49 per cent for those with three merits (MMM).
The proportion of graduates in graduate employment or further study, as measured by the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey (Note 2) is higher among those with a first than those with a third-class degree. Overall the gap between graduates of different ethnicities and different educational disadvantage backgrounds has decreased, but the gender and disability gap has slightly increased.
- 73 per cent of female graduates were in graduate employment or study, compared with 72 per cent of male graduates
- 73 per cent of graduates without a disability were in graduate employment or further study, compared with 71 per cent of disabled graduates
- 75 per cent of graduates from the most advantaged areas were in graduate employment or further study, compared with 71 per cent from the least disadvantaged areas
- 77 per cent of mature graduates, compared with 73 per cent of young graduates, were in employment
- 74 percent of white graduates were in employment, compared with 69 percent of black graduates.
- The analysis, ‘Differences in student outcomes: The effect of student characteristics’ (HEFCE 2018/05), is based on the degree outcomes of graduates who graduated in 2016-17, and the employment outcomes of those who graduated in 2015-16.
- The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey collects information on what all leavers from higher education programmes are doing six months after qualifying from their course.
- The main population in this report is UK-domiciled and consists of 275,800 first degree graduates who obtained a degree classification.
- The National Collaborative Outreach Programme aims to support the most disadvantaged young people in England to progress into higher education.
- The Addressing barriers to success programme funds projects in universities and colleges to support students most affected by differential outcomes.
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