Disadvantaged young people really want to go to university, says Cambridge MP


A report released this week by the Universities Parliamentary Group, co-chaired by Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, has revealed that across the country, students from disadvantaged backgrounds really want to get to university, and see it as life-changing.

The report revealed that young people eligible for free school meals were clear about the benefits of university and thought it was worth the cost. It also found that significantly more were likely to stay at home to go to university locally. Disadvantaged students were also more likely to choose a university based on living costs and were more informed about potential living costs at university. Compared to their wealthier peers, they had less access to information sources to inform their university decisions.

Responding to the report, Daniel Zeichner MP said: “This research busts myths around the attitudes of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds - they really get the difference that going to university will make to their lives. I want to see young people in Cambridge given more advice and support in their university choices so they can have the same quality of experience as their wealthier peers. This is a city of great Universities, but not all young people locally have the same chances and opportunities to benefit.”

Commenting on the finding that less affluent students would be worst hit by a reduction in the number of universities or the number of courses on offer, Daniel Zeichner said “Government Ministers are continually attacking universities and complaining about what they call ‘low-value’ courses. Far from trying to close down courses, we should promote student choice and celebrate the transformational role that all our universities play. Policy-makers need to catch up with those on the ground who actually know what it’s like to be left behind."

  • The All-Party Parliamentary University Group published ‘Is university worth it? Young people’s motivations, aspirations and views on student finance’ on Monday 1st November. The report can be accessed here

  • The report is based on polling by Public First of 1000 students.


MP for the City of Cambridge constituency.

Daniel Zeichner MP