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Social class and postcode determine students' access to highly paid careers

Top universities have fewest entrants from 'disadvantaged' backgrounds

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‘Priority’: Junior minister for higher education Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Photo: Fergal Phillips

‘Priority’: Junior minister for higher education Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Photo: Fergal Phillips

‘Priority’: Junior minister for higher education Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Social class speaks volumes when it comes to a student's chances of going to college, the sort of degree they study, and how much they earn in their first job.

The most detailed breakdown ever of the socio-economic and geographic background of third-level students paints a disturbing picture of the extent to which postcode determines study and career chances.

The divide is already obvious in Leaving Cert results, with school-leavers from affluent backgrounds most likely to achieve high CAO points, giving them more of a choice of college courses: 32pc of those with 555-600 points were from the wealthiest families, compared with 3pc from the most disadvantaged.


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