# Enrolment for Different Age Groups

As outlined in the section on expectations, different groups of students may face different costs and beneﬁts from attending higher education. Table 5 shows the effects broken down for different age groups (full regression results in Appendix 1). While school-leavers (16/18 years old) are almost unaffected by the reforms, all older students are strongly affected.

The results indicate that students from these different age groups have reacted differently to the marketisation process. While younger students seem not to have reacted at all, the picture is quite different for older students. By far the biggest effect is visible for students who are older than 30, for which we observe a decrease by about 1/3 in enrolments.

**Table 5 Effect sizes for different age groups**

Age group |
Absolute change in treated regions |
Percentage change (%) |

16 to 18 years |
−135 students |
−1 |

19/21 years |
−1995 students |
−12 |

22/30 years old |
−2070 students |
−23 |

30 and older |
−3805 students |
−34 |

*Note* The unit of analysis is the region of domicile (standard errors in parentheses, clustered at the domicile level). Estimates and standard errors in model 1 and 2 are rounded to nearest 5 to preserve anonymity. *Source* Own calculations based on HESA data. Full regression output in Appendix 1

**Table 6 Effect sizes for different social classes**

Parental social class |
Absolute change in treated regions |
Percentage change (%) |

Service class |
−535 |
−3 |

Middle class |
−125 |
−2 |

Working class |
+520 |
+7 |

Unemployed |
+10 |
+19 |

*Note* Parental social class is recorded only for students under 22 years of age, domiciled in the United Kingdom. The unit of analysis is the region of domicile (standard errors in parentheses, clustered at the domicile level). Estimates and standard errors in model 1 and 2 are rounded to nearest 5 to preserve anonymity. *Source* Own calculations based on HESA data. Full regression output in Appendix 1

# Enrolment for Different Social Classes

As argued above, one of the main questions in the debate was whether inequality between students would increase. Table 6 presents a summary of the results for the different social classes (full regression tables in Appendix 1). Since it is likely that older students are more prominently from working class backgrounds, it should be noted here already that these results are probably biased (I will come back to this point in the discussion). The estimates indicate a heterogeneous effect of the tuition fees.

While there is a small decline for upper and middle class students, there is an increase in students with parents in the working class or among the unemployed. Further investigation of the data showed that the results also hold if we compare the class background of 18 year olds versus 21 year olds (results not presented here due to space limitations). The results hold when using all years as a control. Using proportions of students in each social class as a proportion of total population in the same social class (using census data from 2011) does not change the estimates. When using Poisson regression, however, the effect size becomes statistically non-signiﬁcant. This means that some caution is warranted in interpreting these changes as a decrease in inequality (note, however, that these are register data, and thus statistical signiﬁcance does not carry its conventional meaning).

**Table 7 Effect sizes for different ethnic groups**

Ethnicity |
Absolute change in treated regions |
Percentage change (%) |

White |
−4895 students |
−10 |

Black or Black British |
−380 students |
−8 |

Asian or Asian British |
−130 students |
−3 |

Mixed |
−75 students |
−4 |

Other |
−190 students |
−8 |

*Note* Ethnic group is recorded only for students domiciled in the United Kingdom. The unit of analysis is the region of domicile (standard errors in parentheses, clustered at the domicile level). Estimates and standard errors in model 1 and 2 are rounded to nearest 5 to preserve anonymity. *Source* Own calculations based on HESA data. Full regression output in Appendix 1

# Enrolment for Different Ethnic Groups

One less investigated area of inequality in British higher education is ethnicity. Table 7 presents the results of the analysis for the largest ethnic groups (full regression results in Appendix 1). The table makes clear that all ethnic groups are negatively affected by the 2012 reforms, although to different extents. Whites, blacks and others face the strongest decreases (ranging between 8 and 10 %). Asians (including Indian British, Pakistaki British and Bangladeshi British) and mixed groups face a smaller decline (between 3 and 4 %).

While some may interpret these effects as a slight decrease in inequality between whites and other ethnic groups, caution is warranted. As Table 3 showed, whites make up more than 70 % of all students in English universities, and over 90 % of students in the control regions. Even after the reforms, whites are still by far the dominant group in all British universities. Rather, we can conclude from this the 2012 reforms did not exacerbate the existing inequalities between ethnic groups in English universities.