The main part of the paper describes the proportion of young people from the top three and bottom four socio-economic classes who participate for the first time in full-time HE, together with the difference (or “gap”) between these 2 participation rates (FYPSEC). Due to a one-off change in the underlying data for the 2008/09 academic year, it has been necessary to produce a version of the FYPSEC measure which covers the more limited age group of 18 year olds. A time series is available for this limited version, covering academic year 2002 to 2003 to academic year 2008 to 2009 but it is not comparable to any FYPSEC figures previously published on 1 July 2009 and earlier.
As the FYPSEC measure has been restricted in academic year 2008 to 2009, the publication also includes additional measures to help describe overall trends for young participation in HE by different background types. These measures cover national HE participation rates for young people from state schools, low income backgrounds and disadvantaged areas of the country.