Entitled Race and Higher Education, the inquiry will be organised by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community, which is chaired by former higher education minister David Lammy.
Among the issues that the inquiry will tackle will be access to higher education for students from BME communities and the “long and short-term value” of universities for such students.
It will also look at academic representation from black and minority ethnic groups in university departments.
The APPG will be working in partnership with a variety of organisations from across the education sector including Black British Academics, an organisation working with universities and others to improve outcomes for black and minority ethnic students and staff in higher education.
“As the job market becomes more competitive it is increasingly important for young people to make themselves as employable as possible. Higher education is seen by many employers as being the most direct way to do this,” a statement released on behalf of the all-party group says.
“As a result, the inquiry will seek to discover whether members of the BME community are being given equal access to the benefits of higher education and whether or not higher education is of equal value in the long term.”
The inquiry is set to run until November 2013.