The Higher Education Statistics Agency collects and publishes data on the number of individuals enrolled in and entering higher education courses. This includes information on the area each student lived in before they entered university, which is used as a proxy for disadvantage.
This growth in participation is seen in the latest disadvantaged entry rates published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, which show that in 2016 young people from the most disadvantaged areas were 43% more likely to enter full-time higher education than they were in 2009 (19.5%, up from 13.6%).
In 2011/12, 41,405 full-time English-domiciled undergraduate students from low participation areas (defined as being in the lowest quintile of the POLAR3 classification) entered English higher education institutions. The equivalent figure for 2015/16 was 44,285, representing a 7% increase in full-time undergraduate entrants from low participation areas between 2011/12 and 2015/16.
In 2011/12, 30,845 part-time English-domiciled undergraduate students from low participation areas entered English higher education institutions. The equivalent figure for 2015/16 was 16,330, representing a 47% decrease in part-time undergraduate entrants from low participation areas between 2011/12 and 2015/16.
Information for all years since 2008/09 could only be provided at disproportionate cost to the department. Information for the years 2011/12 and 2015/16 has been provided, in line with PQ 109021.
More detailed counts of students (including numbers of mature students) can be found in the table provided.