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University celebrates another Top Ten hit for social mobility

A wall graphic showing words University of Opportunity

The University of Wolverhampton has once again been listed in the top ten universities for social mobility – ranking eighth out of 101 universities across England. 

The English Social Mobility Index, which is compiled by London South Bank University (LSBU) and published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), compares the performance of individual English higher education providers. 

The Index measures the social distance travelled by graduates from each institution as well as the proportion of graduates transported. It combines access, continuation and outcomes measures for undergraduates for all modes of study except apprenticeships. 

The Index challenges the often-made assumption that only particular kinds of universities make a substantial impact on social mobility, highlighting that, in the context of their individual missions, all types of institution – from research intensives to modern technical universities – can, and do, make a substantial contribution to social mobility. 

The index outlines that the current focus on judging universities by the salaries of their graduates fails to take into account individuals’ personal circumstances and how far they have travelled. 

The University sits in the top ten alongside three Russell Group universities - King’s College London (4), the London School of Economics and Politics (5) and Queen Mary University of London (6). 

Professor Ebrahim Adia, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We are committed to creating valuable opportunities for our students to reach their full potential and improve their life chances. As the University of Opportunity, we have a long history of increasing and widening participation in higher education and this remains a core part of our mission. 

“We are focused on providing an excellent student experience and supporting our students and graduates to succeed in their studies and future careers. We have always been aware of the different journeys our students travel and remain keenly focused on providing the right support to enable our diverse student body to achieve. 

“We are pleased that the University of Wolverhampton’s hard work in providing opportunities to our communities has been recognised in such a positive way in the Social Mobility Index. 

“The University is very much rooted in its local community and 89% of our graduates are employed or in education 15 months after graduation and 77% work in the West Midlands region.  This is social mobility in action and shows the tremendous impact the University makes to the local and regional economy and community.”   

The University was also recently ranked number 1 in the UK for teaching first generation students – those who are the first in their family to go to university in the Daily Mail University Rankings and League Table 2024. 

Professor David Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of LSBU, who compiles the Index for HEPI, said: “While numerous studies demonstrate that your personal circumstances and where you grow up have a strong bearing on your likelihood of achieving upward mobility, the 2023 Higher Education Social Mobility Index shows that your background does not have to determine your future. 

“Universities of all types, up and down the country, are countering expectation by consistently delivering improved economic prosperity for some of our most disadvantaged students. 

“The Government has repeatedly expressed its desire to tackle the regional inequalities holding communities back. One of the simplest ways they could do this is by celebrating the success of these institutions in breaking through international norms and ensuring that, in a climate of ever-dwindling resources, we don’t let a lack of finance inadvertently reinforce the glass ceiling and stifle this incredible pipeline of talent.” 

Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), said: ”The Social Mobility Index is now in its third year and it has rapidly become one of the most impactful things HEPI does. 

“League tables are controversial and have pros and cons but they are not going to disappear, so it is illuminating to think about different methodologies and to measure things typically excluded. 

“The fact that some relatively new and less prestigious institutions beat Oxbridge reminds us of the different contributions made by different institutions. Above all, the Index confirms our higher education sector has strength in breadth.  

“We hear common complaints that there are too many universities and too many students, but this Index provides yet more evidence that higher education institutions of all types transform people’s lives.” 

A full explanation of the Survey is provided in the full-length report produced when the Index began in 2021, which is available here. Last year’s results are still available here. 

For more information about courses at the University of Wolverhampton check out the website or visit one of our forthcoming Open Days. 


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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