Once a person from a disadvantaged or underrepresented background makes it to university, evidence suggests that they continue to face inequalities which can impact their experience and ultimately lead them to experience worse outcomes.

In 2017-18, universities and colleges spent £658.2m on activities to support on-course success and progression to post-HE destinations for disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

But despite the volume of activity taking place, we do not have a good understanding of which approaches are most effective because:

  • There are gaps in the evidence base: for some student groups and activities there is simply not much existing research or evaluation.
  • The existing evidence doesn’t focus on the impact of activities: in some cases, we have evidence on the barriers certain groups face to entering HE, but we have less on the actual impact of activities designed to support these students.
  • The existing evidence doesn’t actually show that the activity has an impact: much existing research and evaluation looks at whether students who take part in some activity have better outcomes than other students who don’t. But this approach doesn’t actually tell us whether an activity is effective.

TASO’s research under theme 2 focuses on understanding and addressing the inequalities that exist post-entry to university, including interventions designed to improve the student experience and provide additional support to those from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

Learn about the evidence for student success interventions.

Which option best describes you?

Read our published reports on gaps in the student experience

Find out about current research we are undertaking within this theme.