Graduate views on access to higher education: is it really a case of pulling up the ladder?



Webb R, Watson D, Cook S & Arico F (2017) Graduate views on access to higher education: is it really a case of pulling up the ladder?. Studies in Higher Education, 42 (3), pp. 504-518.

Using as a starting point in the recent work of Mountford-Zimdars et al., the authors analyse attitudes towards expanding higher education (HE) opportunities in the UK. The authors propose that the approach of Mountford-Zimdars et al. is flawed not only in its adoption of a multivariate logistic regression but also in its interpretation of results. The authors make a number of adaptations, chief among them being the use of an ordered probit approach and the addition of a time dimension to test for changes in attitudes between 2000 and 2010. The authors find that attitudes towards HE expansion have intensified during the decade 2000–2010, but the authors uncover no evidence that this is due to graduates wanting to ‘pull up the ladder’, as suggested by Mountford-Zimdars et al. The authors argue that evidence of a widespread desire to reduce access to HE can most likely be explained by social congestion theory, internal institutional disaffection and rising tuition fees.

higher education; expansion; widening access; attitudes; ordered probit

Studies in Higher Education: Volume 42, Issue 3

FundersUniversity of Nottingham
Publication date31/12/2017
Publication date online02/07/2015
Date accepted by journal02/07/2015

People (1)


Professor Robert Webb

Professor Robert Webb

Professor of Banking and Appl. Economics, Accounting & Finance