CGHE seminar 96

‘First in the family’ university graduates in England

  • Thursday, 22 Nov 2018 12:30 - 14:49
  • Room 804, UCL Institute of Education
  • Nikki Shure, UCL Institute of Education


This paper explores the characteristics of a recent generation of ‘first in the family’ (FiF) university graduates in England using a nationally representative dataset, Next Steps (formerly the Longitudinal study of Young People in England, LSYPE) to provide the first comprehensive, descriptive statistics on this group.

The researchers identify the proportion of FiF young people at age 25 as compared to their peers who either match their parents’ education level (either with degree or without degree) or are downwardly mobile, meaning their parent(s) has a university degree, but they do not.

The results show that that 15 per cent of young people aged 25 in 2015 in England are FiF, comprising nearly half of all university graduates of this cohort. We find that girls are more likely than boys to be FiF, as are young people of Indian and Black Caribbean origin, in line with current and historical trends in HE participation.

FiF students are less likely to study at elite institutions, but no more likely to drop out, once we control for their previous attainment. The researchers also find that FiF students have greater odds of studying for a Law, Economics and Management degree rather than the ‘harder’ subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.


All seminars are free and open to the public. No advance booking required.

Nikki Shure

Nikki Shure

Dr Nikki Shure is a Research Associate on CGHE’s social and economic impact of higher education research programme and a Research Affiliate at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). She completed her PhD in Economics as a Weidenfeld Scholar at the University of Oxford with a focus on labour economics and education economics. Her research looks at the intersection of education policy and the labour market. She focuses on the returns to early education, maternal labour supply, non-cognitive skills, peer effects, and international comparisons of educational outcomes. She is interested in applied econometrics.

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