17 August 2009 Access to Higher Education - University Challenge
Inclusion Now - Higher Education
In an increasingly crowded job market academic qualifications have become more important in securing employment. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) the number of wheelchair users attending university increased by almost 230% between 1995 and 2008, yet Trailblazers continues to hear of difficulties and challenges that disabled students face when planning for and attending university.
"I very much welcome this important report. A university education is often the route to good careers and disabled people should have the same opportunities as others. There has been much progress with more universities enabling disabled people to enjoy the full student experience but, as this research shows, we have a long way to go before disabled people have the same choices as other students take for granted. The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign has made a contribution to ensuring this end by undertaking this work.” Sir Bert Massie, Commissioner - The Compact
In 2002 the Department for Work and Pensions found that non-disabled people were twice as likely to have studied in higher education as disabled people. The same report revealed that 44% of all disabled people were economically active, compared with 79% of non-disabled people.If you are disabled you are less likely to have studied at university and also less likely to be in employment. For disabled people to be able to achieve their economic potential and fully contribute to the national economy, it is essential that higher education is accessible to all.
In response to this Trailblazers have launched University Challenge, an investigative report and guide into support and accesibility at university.
University Challenge is the second report of the Inclusion Now campaign being organised by the Trailblazers - the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's nationwide network of 16 to 30-year-olds who are fighting for the rights of young disabled people.
Key findings from the investigation into university facilities and websites
- The Clearing System disadvantages disabled students as it leaves them less than a month to choose their preferred course and university as well as investigate access, accommodation and arrange care.
- One in ten disabled students will not have all their accessible accommodation, and cooking and dining facilities that are fully integrated into mainstream university life.
- One in four universities does not have rooms available for personal assistants, which could force disabled students to live at home rather than with their fellow students.
- 30% of inter-campus transport is not accessible to disabled students.
- One in ten universities admits that they do not have good links with local care agencies and support services.
Only 12% of the top 100 university websites could provide all the information requested.
We are calling on the Government, local authorities and universities and colleges to:
- recognise the importance of an engaged disability officer to make the transition to university as smooth as possible. All universities must prioritise at least one person in this role so disabled students receive expert advice and support at a potentially stressful and uncertain time;
- guarantee that no student will be unable to study a course (that they have the qualifications and academic background to study) on the grounds of their disability;
- guarantee full funding for the increased care needed when a young disabled person leaves home and goes to university so they can study where they choose, without being reliant on family for care http://www.askjules.co.uk/121211.html;
- ensure disabled students have the same level of choice as non-disabled students when choosing their university accommodation;
- guarantee the provision of free accommodation for personal assistants, required by disabled students who need 24-hour care;
- ensure that all inter-campus university transport is accessible to all students;
- provide assistance and support for disabled students who need to hire personal assistants;
- ensure all university and college websites have fully comprehensive and accessible information via their websites for disabled students.
Read University Challenge now.
Josh replied on 1 May 2009 at 12:38Report abuse
This campaign sounds great. As an able bodied uni student I am disgusted that there aren't better provisions for disabled students at my uni. I'm interested to see how this campaign develops and how I can help...
James Skelton replied on 11 Nov 2009 at 17:04Report abuse
university education for disabled people like myself is pointless as there isn't actually any jobs for us. The government needs to make jobs for us first!