Working class groups have historically been excluded from participation in higher education. Past decades have seen an expansion of the system towards a more inclusive higher education, but participation among people from working class groups has remained persistently low. Is higher education unattractive for these groups or are the institutions acting to exclude them?
This thought-provoking and revealing book examines the many factors and reasons why working class groups are under-represented in higher education. In particular, the book addresses issues around differential access to information about university, the value of higher education to working class groups, the costs of participating and the propensity to participate. Issues of gender and ethnicity are also explored and questions are raised for those who are currently involved in 'widening participation' projects and initiatives. A unique feature of the book is that its findings are drawn from an innovative study where the views of both working class participants and non-participants in higher education were explored.
This book will be of interest to students of social policy, educational studies and sociology of education at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Academics, researchers and policy makers nationally and internationally will also find it valuable.
'This is a very good book that is extremely challenging for policy-makers in higher education. While some of the questions discussed in this book are beginning to be addressed, many are not, and the book offers important insights into the difficult issues that face decision-makers in the field. I would also recommend the book to any researcher in the field of widening participation as an excellent summary of the debates in the field.' - British Educational Research Journal
'Higher Education and Social Class is essential reading for anyone interested in grappling seriously with widening participation in higher education.' - Studies in Higher Education
'an interesting book and one which will be helpful to practitioners, policy-makers and students … [it is] valuable in reminding us that while participation in higher education has increased for all social classes it is the higher classes who continue to benefit the most.' - Studies in the Education of Adults
'This book has many strengths and I would recommend it highly for both under- and postgraduate students and many of their teachers. It is clear, readable and thorough in its pursuit of an understanding of the complexities of one of the most intractable of current educational problems.' - Jenny Williams, University of Wolverhampton, LATISS