University's Rise in Social Mobility Index

3 November 2023
Time to read
2 min read
Graduates dressed in graduation robes throwing their mortar board hats into the air on Ipswich Waterfront
Graduating Students

The University of Suffolk has risen 42 places in the latest English Social Mobility Index.

The index, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute, measures the social distance travelled by graduates, at 101 universities in England, combining access, continuation and outcome measures for undergraduates for all modes of study, except apprenticeships.

According to 2023 data, the University of Suffolk now sits 37th in the table.

Factors within the social mobility index include degrees gained by students who may have had poor A Level grades, or who are the first in their family to go to university.

Dr Ellen Buck, director of learning and teaching at the University of Suffolk said the index links with the university’s commitment to transform lives and communities and empower students to do the same.

“The index draws on data from our access and participation successes, for example the number of students who would typically experience barriers to accessing higher education, succeeding in higher education and progressing into further higher study or employment.

“It looks at this data and then ranks universities based on the impact they have had on their communities.”

When the index was first developed it was said that it recognises institutions’ success in boosting the outcomes of a high proportion of students and also those institutions that push a smaller proportion of students a further distance.

The index highlights the value that universities make to social mobility by showing the distance – academically and economically – they help their students to travel.

Dr Buck added: “For Suffolk, this means that the aspirations we have to effect change and increase social mobility, and the work we are doing is making a substantial difference, and our position, and rise in the table, reflects this.”

The University of Suffolk’s commitment to the success of its students is reflected in the results for graduate prospects. The University is ranked in the top 5 universities for career prospects (WhatUni Student Choice Awards 2023) and 1st for Quality of Work measures (HESA Spring 2023 graduate outcome data).

In addition, the University of Suffolk is ranked in the top 3% for student satisfaction in the Guardian University Guide 2024, the top 10 for lecturers and teaching quality in the WhatUni Student Choice Awards 2023, and having its world-leading and internationally excellent research recognised with an “outstanding” award in the Research Excellence Framework 2021.

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