UCAS has published its fifth Analysis Note of the 2015 cycle, entitled ‘Offer rates to different ethnic groups close to expected values’.
The work comes after research outputs which suggested possible bias in offer rates. UCAS’ analysis looks at offer rates from English providers to young English applicants from different ethnic groups, by subject area. The main analysis looks at the higher Tariff group, though the supporting data file gives results for all three Tariff groups.
The full note is available to download on the Analysis Notes page of the website, along with the data files.
- The analysis does not reflect any systemic bias against ethnic minorities in HE admissions
- Offer rates to different ethnic groups are close to expected values
- The ‘expected’ offer rate to Asian, Black, Mixed and Other applicants is lower than to White applicants. This reflects that (for the same strength of predicted grades) Asian, Black, Mixed and Other applicants are more likely to apply to those higher tariff universities and courses that have lower offer rates.
- Most of the difference in actual offer rates between ethnic groups is accounted for by these different application patterns. Actual offer rates to Asian, Black, Mixed and Other applicants are close to what would be expected (from the predicted grades they hold and the courses they apply to), ranging from two percentage points higher than expected, to two percentage points lower than expected.
UCAS’ Chief Executive Mary Curnock Cook said: “It is important that we and other experts in this field continue to research the factors which create advantage or disadvantage in receiving an offer for higher education.
“This analysis is encouraging in that it does not reflect any systemic bias against ethnic minorities in HE admissions.
“What is clear is that the White group of applicants are more likely to ‘play it safe’ with their choices, selecting courses where the offer-rate is higher. In contrast, the choices of some other ethnic groups – with the same set of predicted grades - tend to be more ambitious, and to courses with lower offer rates.
“With five choices available, it’s a low-risk strategy if students do aim high and make at least one choice with entry requirements above their predictions without jeopardising their chances of receiving an offer overall.”
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UCAS is a charity and is the UK's shared admissions service for higher education. We manage applications from over 650,000 applicants each year for full-time undergraduate courses at over 350 universities and colleges across the UK.