English universities ranked on their contributions to social mobility – and the least selective post-1992 universities come out on top
The reports’ other findings include:
There is a low correlation between mobility rates and the average earnings returns for each university estimated in previous research. Universities with the best average earnings returns often have poor access rates, resulting in low mobility rates. Many of the highest mobility rate institutions have low earnings returns.
Pharmacology, computing and law are the best performing subjects in terms of mobility. Pharmacology is the standout performer with a mobility rate three times the average.
There is a lot of variation in mobility within universities across the subjects offered. Most universities with low overall mobility have some degree courses with high mobility rates.
Access to university for FSM students has improved, but slowly. The average mobility rate of 1.3% for the mid-2000s cohorts is only projected to have increased to 1.6% now. This remains well below the 4.4% benchmark, suggesting that there is much progress still to be made.
Elaine Drayton, a Research Economist at the IFS and author of the report said: “These results document an important contribution that universities make to society beyond average earnings returns. Many low selectivity institutions offer low earnings returns on average but make a positive contribution to social mobility. This highlights the importance of using other metrics in conjunction with earnings returns when determining value in higher education.”