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UA92 recruits 21% from disadvantaged areas

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Student numbers from disadvantaged areas of Greater Manchester dominate intake at UA92

More than 21% of University Academy 92 (UA92) students have been recruited from the most disadvantaged areas of the community this year – a figure standing UA92’s participation levels above the national average of 13.5% according to figures released by UCAS today.

The higher education institution, which has been proactively working with communities such as Beswick, Ardwick and Wythenshawe to increase levels of people from disadvantaged backgrounds continuing into higher education, saw the number of students from such postcodes outweigh those from other more affluent areas of the region for the September 2022 intake.

It comes as UCAS today announced that nationally more students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds secured university and college undergraduate places than ever before, amid growing demand for courses. UCAS End of Cycle data for 2022, shows record numbers of 18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged areas in the UK (POLAR4 quintile 1) being accepted onto a course. There were 611,900 undergraduate students nationally, 83,835 (13.5%) of which were from the most deprived areas. UA92’s data shows that more than 21% of the cohort this September were from POLAR4 quintile 1.

UA92 is focused on opening up access to higher education to reduce inequalities and raise aspirations. It has struck up many strong partnerships with businesses which have a core North West presence, such as TalkTalk, KPMG and Microsoft, to bolster learning, offer real-life work experience and insight, as well as address digital poverty, to ensure graduates are career-ready. The institution has also opened up bootcamps and apprenticeships to broaden access for Manchester residents.

Sara Prowse, CEO at UA92, said: “It’s good to see that there has also been progress nationally and that more students from disadvantaged backgrounds are now entering university. However, there is much more to do. Today’s data from UCAS shows that 18-year-olds from the most advantaged backgrounds are still more than twice as likely to enter HE compared to more disadvantaged peers. This has to be addressed right across the country if we are to level the playing field.

“We are one of the few higher education institutions across the country with more students from disadvantaged backgrounds than from elsewhere. We are absolutely set on our stance of doing all we can to level up educational opportunities. At UA92, we believe that ability and determination, not postcode, should determine success.

UA92 has a number of initiatives in place to reach the most disadvantaged communities. This includes a community engagement team working directly with schools and community groups; plus the Make It For Real programme. This is an innovative financial package targeted at young people in communities where financial deprivation is high and where accessing education is perceived as unaffordable or inaccessible. It is specifically aimed at those in receipt of, or eligible for, free school meals and provides recipients with £5,000 worth of support which includes a laptop, unlimited data, lunch every day, travel pass to and from campus and a £150 home voucher. In Autumn, UA92 held a Parliamentary event to campaign for change, calling on MPs and business leaders to work together to help resolve inequalities.

Prowse added: “More than 15% of our students at UA92 were on Free School Meals at school or college, compared to just 8% of higher education starters across the UK as a whole. This is a good start and we are proud to be supporting these pupils through our financial initiatives, but these statistics also show how much more we need to do as a nation to ensure all young people can achieve the qualifications that they aspire to, wherever they live and whatever their background.

Full details of the national UCAS story released today can be found here:

And the full analysis of student intakes nationally can be found here:

About University Academy 92 (UA92)

University Academy 92 (UA92) is a groundbreaking higher education institution co-founded by Lancaster University and the Class of ‘92.

Based in Old Trafford, Manchester, UA92 is committed to making higher education accessible to all no matter the background, through its founding principles of accessibility, social mobility and inclusivity.

UA92 offers a portfolio of degree and higher education courses across business, sport, media and digital disciplines, preparing students for the world of work by offering industry-led courses.

UA92 gives students a clear route into industry by opening the door to leading businesses. Working in partnership with leading industry names including Microsoft, TalkTalk, KPMG and Manchester United, students benefit from mentors, guest lectures and work experience opportunities, in addition to character and personal development guidance, and financial support beyond traditional scholarships and government loans.

UA92 degrees are accredited by Lancaster University.