Graduate views on access to higher education: is it really a case of pulling up the ladder?

Rob Webb (Lead Author), Duncan Watson, Steve Cook, Fabio Arico

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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Using as a starting point the recent work of Mountford-Zimdars, Jones, Sullivan and Heath (2013), we analyse attitudes towards expanding HE opportunities in the UK. We propose that the approach of Mountford-Zimdars et al. is flawed not only in its adoption of a multivariate logistic regression but in its interpretation of results. We make a number of adaptations, chief among them the use of an ordered probit approach and the addition of a time dimension to test for changes in attitudes between 2000 and 2010. We find attitudes towards HE expansion have intensified during the decade 2000-2010, but we uncover no evidence that this is due to graduates wanting to ‘pull up the ladder’, as suggested by Mountford-Zimdars et al. We argue that evidence of a widespread desire to reduce access to HE can most likely be explained by social congestion theory, internal institutional disaffection and rising tuition fees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-518
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Higher Education
  • Expansion
  • Widening Access
  • Attitudes
  • Ordered Probit

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