WMCU join £1 million project to tackle degree attainment gap

WMCU are working together in a £1 million project aiming to tackle barriers which prevent students from diverse backgrounds achieving the best results at university.

Research has shown that gaps exist in the higher education outcomes of different groups, such as those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, students with disabilities and mature or part-time students.

The three universities have joined the scheme, which has been funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, in a bid to ensure students from all backgrounds are given the support needed to get the most out of their time at university.

The funds will be spent on providing new levels of support for students and addressing issues they face while moving to university.

Actions will also include closer engagement with newly enrolled students and using data to track those most at risk of becoming disengaged in a bid to foster a stronger sense of belonging and integration.

The project, which also includes Staffordshire University, CU Coventry, 6th Form College Solihull, Halesowen College and Stoke-on-Trent College, will see the universities work with college partners to maximise its benefits.

Professor Graham Upton, Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “Research has identified gaps between the higher education outcomes of people from different groups and we need to find ways to change that.

“We are proud of our diverse student population and want to make sure every one of them is given the support and guidance they need to get the most out of their studies, regardless of their background.

“This funding gives each of our institutions a real chance to make a positive impact and further improve the experience of our students.”

Professor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University said: “This is an excellent example of the combined universities group working together to tackle social injustice and using education as a vehicle to address inequality.

“This is a very complex issue which needs to see incremental changes across many areas. We are determined to remove any hurdles that prevent students reaching their full potential so we are very pleased to be working with our partner institutions on this vitally important project.”

Vice-Chancellor for the University of Wolverhampton, Professor Geoff Layer, said: “We are delighted to be working together with our regional partner universities on this project to tackle disparities in degree attainment.

“The University of Wolverhampton has a diverse student community and we are recognised nationally as being at the forefront of combating and confronting inequality.

“We look forward to working with our partners to draw on our combined expertise and share best practice to ensure all students have access to the best possible support to achieve their full potential.”