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Tracking student mothers higher education participation and early career outcomes over time: initial choices and aspirations, HE experiences and final career destinations

The aim of this project was to track student mothers aged 21 and over from their initial applications to Higher Education (HE) in 2005/6, following their experiences of studying and eventually into employment. The project involved:

  • A review of the current literature on student mothers in the UK and elsewhere
  • Quantitative analysis of Futuretrack data
  • New semi-structured interviews with student mothers

The quantitative analysis of the four waves of the Futuretrack survey and the interviews examined: choice of courses and places of study; aspirations on entry into HE and whether these change over time; why some student mothers drop out of HE; final qualifications and career destinations; and the key factors which help or hinder the overall HE experience, all of which will be compared with other students from the same cohort. Crucially, the analysis also examined whether HE increases social mobility for student mothers and their families.

The synthesis of findings from the literature review, as well as the quantitative and qualitative data, will be used to provide recommendations for policy-makers, at a time when HE tuition fees have increased dramatically and when there has been a corresponding reduction in applications to HE from mature students.

Project outputs

Lyonette, C., Atfield, G., Behle, H. and Gambin, L. (2015) Tracking student mothers’ higher education participation and early career outcomes over time: initial choices and aspirations, HE experiences and career destinations. Final Report. London: Nuffield Foundation.

Lyonette, C., Atfield, G., Behle, H. and Gambin, L. (2015) Tracking student mothers’ higher education participation and early career outcomes over time: initial choices and aspirations, HE experiences and career destinations. Executive Summary. London: Nuffield Foundation.

Lyonette, C., Atfield, G., Behle, H. and Gambin, L. (2015) Tracking student mothers’ higher education participation and early career outcomes over time: initial choices and aspirations, HE experiences and career destinations. Literature Review. London: Nuffield Foundation.



Project Duration:

July 2013 - September 2014

Research Team:

Clare Lyonette (Principal Investigator)
Gaby Atfield
Heike Behle
Lynn Gambin

Sponsor:

Nuffield Foundation

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