Here Are The Universities Who Rank The Worst When It Comes To Helping Students From Lower Income Families

New research has revealed which unis are doing the best and worst when it comes to helping students from lower income backgrounds.

The Institute For Fiscal Studies (IFS) recently conducted research which reveals which universities are doing the most (and least) to help students who come from lower income backgrounds.

This research was conducted by looking at students who used to receive free school meals and later went on to land jobs that payed in the top 20%.

The research showed that while low-income students were less likely to attend the most selective universities and that, unpredictably it was students who attended private schools who were most likely to attend Oxford or Cambridge.

The average mobility rate across all universities is 1.3%, while the benchmark set by the IFS is 4.4%, which would be the rate you would get if there were equal access to university for all income groups and if undergraduates from all income backgrounds had the same chance of making it in the top 20% after graduating. To sum it up, only 1.3 in every 100 university graduates are in the top 20% by the age of 30 if they come from a low-income background.

While many Russell Group universities have high success rates, they admit very few low-income students which in turn leads to such low-mobility rates. However, Queen Mary’s is an exception and the only Russell Group university with an outstanding record for admitting students from lower-income backgrounds.


The universities that are doing well and ranked highest when it comes to social mobility and supporting those from lower-income backgrounds are:

  • Queen Mary’s
  • The University of Westminster
  • City University
  • The University of Greenwich
  • London South Bank
  • Brunel University
  • St George’s Hospital Medical School
  • University of East London
  • London Metropolitan University
  • Kingston University

Meanwhile the universities that ranked amongst the worst are:

  • University of Exeter
  • Newcastle University
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Bath
  • University of Southhampton
  • University of York
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Durham

You can read the full list of results here and more about the research conducted by the IFS here.