26 November 2021

A new study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that the University of East London is a major engine of social mobility – providing students from the lowest-income households with opportunities to progress to the most rewarding careers.

The new analysis places UEL as the most accessible university in the country to low-income groups, with almost a third of students (29%) eligible for free school meals aged 16.

Overall, the university was placed 8th nationwide for its "mobility rate" which takes the share of students from low-income backgrounds who attended the university from the early-2000s and tracks those students to see how they progressed through a graduate career by the age of 30.

At 4.1%, UEL's mobility rate was more than double the 2% average for post-92 universities and more than three times the average across all universities (1.3%).

Dr Ian Pickup, pro-vice chancellor for education and experience at UEL, said, "We're delighted by the findings of this analysis, proving again that the added-value education we offer provides truly transformative opportunities and changes lives.

"Universities are a crucial catalyst of social mobility – giving students not only a path to a degree but also the aspiration, experience and the broader skills necessary to fulfil their potential through impactful careers.

"This is fundamental to our values and vision. We sit at the heart of our East London community, which itself has a range of social challenges, and we offer a practical route to prosperity for those who might otherwise get left behind."

The IFS report, funded by education charity The Sutton Trust and the Department for Education, found that UEL’s best performing course was business with a mobility rate of 7%. Others in the top 50 nationwide were sports science (6.2%), computing (6.1%) and law (5.9%).

Dr Pickup added, "The IFS report says that there is much more to be done across the higher education sector and as one of the leading institutions for driving social mobility, we agree with that conclusion. We are far from complacent.

"As we head into the fourth year of our Vision 2028 transformation strategy, we are doubling-down on our range of market-leading support – such as through our innovative Career Zones – to ensure our students are employment-ready and can take advantage of the jobs of the future."