Fewer than half of East Anglia’s young people going to university

UEA medical students throw their caps at their graduation ceremony at Norwich City Football Club's g

UEA medical students throw their caps at their graduation ceremony at Norwich City Football Club's ground. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Fewer than half of 18-year-olds in East Anglia are choosing to study at university, figures have revealed.

Department for Education data for students who finished their 16-to-18 study in 2015/16 shows that 46pc of students in Norfolk and 52pc in Suffolk went on to study a degree or a similar course within two years.

This compares with a national average of 58pc.

The cost of a university education is on the rise, with tuition fees at many institutions still hovering at just over £9,000 a year, increases in the cost of living and cuts in financial support for students.

The Sutton Trust, which analysed the data, found someone's chances of going to a top university - which it says is the surest route to a good job - differs significantly depending on where they grow up.

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Of the 2,537 Norfolk students and 2,361 Suffolk students who applied for a higher education course, 18pc got into one of the 24 elite Russell Group universities, considered to be among the UK's best.

In Norfolk, 1pc of all students secured a place at Oxford or Cambridge. No figures for Oxbridge acceptance were available for Suffolk.

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Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders and former Suffolk headteacher, said that while the number of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who go to university has increased it is still a lot fewer than those from wealthier groups.

He added: "The next government - whoever it is - must ensure that schools and colleges have the funding and supply of teachers they need to support these students."

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "As a government, we have seen a record rate of disadvantaged 18-year-olds going to university, and we have made it a priority to ensure that we continue to improve access and participation across the country."

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