We’re pleased to announce the launch of our new Fair Study Toolkit for Universities. This Toolkit is part of our work to ensure people with criminal records can access higher education. We believe the transformative potential of higher education should be available for all. For people with criminal records, higher education can offer a bridge to a positive future.
Widening access and participation plans encourage admissions and success for groups of people who are typically underrepresented in higher education. They do not reference people with criminal records, despite work by both the Office For Students and UCAS highlighting the need for support for this group.
People with criminal records can face challenges accessing higher education because:
- The process of application itself can be a deterrent – often, there is no guidance available as to how criminal records data may be requested, assessed or managed. This can leave people feeling uncertain about their options, and many choose not to apply as a result.
- Many higher education providers do not have the appropriate policies or processes in place to recruit from this group
- Legal requirements relating to the processing of criminal records data are not well understood
- Myths and misunderstandings about criminal records can mean that people are rejected unnecessarily
- People with criminal records may be more likely to be drawn from other widening participation groups and face multiple barriers to access as a result
- A small number of specific kinds of criminal records may mean that someone is not able to study the subject they choose
Our conversations with students, applicants and staff have shown us that there is a need for Universities to have clearer guidance on fair practice for criminal records. That’s why we released our first toolkit in 2019. This revised version explores some of the issues in more detail in a more navigable format.
If you are a person with a criminal record looking to apply to University, you can find advice on making an application here. We also have a searchable database of University criminal records policies if you are interested in applying to a specific institution.
Learn more about this topic
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- Double your impact this week with the Big Give
- The Autumn Statement 2023 is a missed opportunity to support people with criminal records
- New research highlights discrimination against people with criminal records in labour market
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