Russell Group responds to new Sutton Trust findings on universities and social mobility

30 May 2024

A new research report from the Sutton Trust demonstrates widespread public backing for students from low-income backgrounds receiving more assistance at university – with 87% of people believing they should receive financial support from government, and 53% supporting the re-introduction of maintenance grants.  

In the survey, respondents also identified barriers to success including where you live and having access to good education, underlining the importance of educational opportunities to improving outcomes.  

Responding to the findings, Joanna Burton, Head of Policy (Education) at the Russell Group, said: 

"Today’s report from the Sutton Trust shows there is extensive support among the general public for interventions that level the playing field, and an understanding of the role that education plays in social mobility. Russell Group universities are all keenly aware of this, and we are committed to ensuring that young people from all backgrounds can access high-level study and transformational experiences. 

"We also know that financial challenges can be a major barrier for some young people. Universities have put tens of millions into additional support as the cost of living has risen, but this needs to be backed by a robust student maintenance system. We echo the Sutton Trust’s call to reintroduce maintenance grants to low-income students, extend eligibility for the maximum loan support to more families who need it, and make sure maintenance support keeps up with real inflation to meet students’ living requirements".

For more information about the current shortfalls in student maintenance provision, and the financial and non-financial support our universities are providing to their students, see our briefing on Cost-of-living support for students.

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