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Harper Adams top for inclusion

Posted 5 June 2008

Harper Adams University College was today revealed as the most inclusive higher education institution in the UK, in figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
   The Hesa data shows that, for the second year running, the Shropshire university college had the highest proportion of students from  low socioeconomic groups among its 2006/7 undergraduate entrants, with 58.4 per cent against a bench mark of 39.1 per cent.
   Harper Adams academic registrar Dr Noel Morrison welcomed the announcement, saying: “‘This confirms Harper Adams’s continuing commitment to open the doors of higher education to young people who may not previously have considered a university experience.
   “We achieve this through an extensive programme of work with schools and colleges and we also offer a generous scholarship scheme to students from poorer household backgrounds. Moreover, students with worries about finance are attracted to the Harper Adams because they know that we have one of the best employment rates for graduates in the UK.”
   The figures appear in Hesa’s latest performance indicator tables. Performance Indicators are a range of statistical indicators intended to offer an objective measure of how a higher education institution (HEI) is performing. They are not ‘league tables' and do not attempt to compare all HEIs against a ‘gold standard’ or against each other. There are indicators for all publicly funded HEIs in the UK.
   Performance indicators are designed to provide reliable information on the nature and performance of the higher education sector in the UK. The indicators published today include those for widening participation, in which Harper Adams’s success was revealed; students in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance; non-continuation rates; module completion rates for part-time students at Welsh institutions and research output, looking at quantative outcomes of research that will change from year to year.
   Today’s widening participation PIs show a rise in state-school intake and improved retention across the UK.
   At Harper Adams, measures to encourage applications from a wider range of backgrounds include working with land-based further education colleges which offer vocational routes into higher education; membership of the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Aimhigher initiative, which includes university days and school visits; specialist school partnerships; Year 6 Children’s University; Gifted & Talented Science School for local students; aspiration workshops; hosting the Higher Education Choices conference for 16-17 year olds; attendance at rural, county shows, UCAS higher education fairs and school careers events.
   A further Performance Indicator covering the employment of graduates is due to be published on July 17.
The full results and tables can be found on the HESA website at www.hesa.ac.uk

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