Chapter 13

The Economic and Social Benefits of Widening Participation

Rhetoric or Reality?

Nick Adnett,    Institute for Education Policy Research, Staffordshire University, Staffordshire, UK

This chapter critically reviews the evidence concerning the economic and social benefits to individuals and the nation from widening participation to higher education (HE) in developed economies. The focus is on the UK, though it is argued that much of the evidence from that country is transferable to similar countries. The initial analysis reveals the diversity of the groups constituting nontraditional entrants to HE and the highly-stratified nature of the UK HE market. The methodological problems in identifying and measuring the benefits of widening participation ...

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