The barriers to access in higher education and their alleviation

Osborne, M. (2022) The barriers to access in higher education and their alleviation. In: Côté, J. E. and Pickard, S. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of the Sociology of Higher Education [2nd Edition]. Routledge: London, pp. 160-173. ISBN 9781032201474 (doi: 10.4324/9781003262497-15)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


This chapter explores the issue of inequitable participation in higher education internationally, considering this phenomenon both at the traditional age of entry and in later life. It examines the forms that initiatives take to widen access and the forms of influence that shape the success of interventions. These forms of influence are the regulatory and policy landscape, the diversity of the structural and institutional forms of higher education that this landscape fosters, and the situational and dispositional characteristics of prospective students. The chapter argues that while there has been progress in improving access around the world in absolute terms, there are still disparities between those who have historically accessed higher education and those who have not. Many groups, notably those from Black and ethnic minority groups, Indigenous peoples, and those with low socioeconomic status do not participate in numbers proportionate to their population share. The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to exacerbate disparities, since it is these groups that will have disproportionately been affected.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Osborne, Professor Michael
Authors: Osborne, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > People, Place & Social Change
Published Online:22 March 2022

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record