Durham recruits the lowest proportion of students from its region of any UK university, with just 10.1% of UK first-degree full-time students coming from the North East of England in 2018-19.
The analysis from Times Higher Education, based on unpublished figures from the Higher Education Statistics agency, comes as the treatment of Northern students at Durham is highlighted in a report by student Lauren White, publicised in Palatinate and The Guardian last week.
Second lowest were the University of Warwick and Loughborough University, followed by the University of Cambridge. Just over 13% of their first-degree UK students are from the region in which the university is situated.
A Palatinate investigation from November 2019 revealed that, on average, only 7.8% of total students at Durham University over the previous 5 years were from the North East.
In 2019, Durham University confirmed that the majority of their students are from “the highest participating in higher education neighbourhoods”, on average 52-55% over the past five years, compared to 5-7% from the Low Participation Neighbourhood group, measured by “POLAR4 quintiles”.
Durham University’s ratio of quintiles 5 and 1 is currently 10:1, while the average ratio among high tariff institutions is currently 5:1. They recognised that what “makes this ratio particularly problematic” is that “quintile 5 includes the postcode areas for many of the best performing schools in the country”.
Other universities in the North East have a much higher proportion of local students. 23% of Newcastle University’s admissions in the 2017/18 academic year were from the North East and a Centre For Cities study reported that half of the students at Northumbria came from the region.
Stuart Corbridge, Durham’s Vice-Chancellor, said to Times Higher Education that the North East was the region “with the lowest rate of participation in higher education in England”.
He continued: “We have a large number of programmes to encourage students from the north east of England to apply to study here, or indeed to go on to study at another university, and we are constantly building these programmes and the financial support that underpins them.”
Image: Mark Norton