Jo Johnson, the Universities Minister, has said that more working class white males need to be recruited onto university courses in England, with new rules being introduced.
According to official statistics, very few white males from poor backgrounds go on to higher education, and drop-out rates for black students are rather high too.
“Almost 40 per cent of young people now progress to higher education by the age of 19, but the figure is just 10 per cent for white boys from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, who are five times less likely to go to university than those from the most advantaged ones,” Mr Johnson wrote.
“For black and minority ethnic students, who are applying to university in increasing numbers, there needs to be much greater support through their courses. On average, black students are 50 per cent more likely to drop out of university than their peers. This is unacceptable in a country that believes in aspiration and opportunity.”
Mr Johnson wants closer partnerships between universities and local schools, to help more students from disadvantaged backgrounds go to university.
Universities will also be required to provide greater support for students with learning difficulties such as attention-deficit disorders, dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome and dyspraxia. Supporting students with learning difficulties should be made a priority for each university, to help ensure a suitable amount of support is available.