First generation students or students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are still poorly represented in higher education. But universities are now working hard to rectify this and the University Impact Rankings 2019 are an indicator of which universities are doing this successfully.
To put together this ranking we mapped how universities around the world are committing to 11 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a global call to action to tackle poverty, climate change and inequality. Among the goals we have included in the ranking are those on good health and well-being, reduced inequalities and climate action.
The SDGs look to tackle some of today’s biggest global issues and SDG 10 covers reducing inequalities.
Some of the metrics that helped to measure which universities were excelling at reducing inequalities were the number of first generation students, the number of students from developing countries, the proportion of students and staff with disabilities, the measures against discrimination and the amount of research a university undertakes on reduced inequalities. More information on the methodology can be found here.
1. James Cook University
James Cook University set up the Indigenous Education and Research Centre in 2018 with the aim of giving a voice to the Indigenous students at the university, their families and communities.
The university also offers the AccessAbility service, which assists students with a long-term health condition, physical or learning disability or mental health condition. The service is free and offers confidential support.
It provides ways to help students work to their full potential, access assistive equipment,mobility aids, technology and software and can have exam conditions altered to meet their needs.
2. Western Sydney University
The disability service at Western Sydney University is made up of a team of professional disability advisors and trained educational support staff. The service helps with pre-admission advice, academic support and advocacy on disability-related issues.
There is also a wide range of support for international students. There are guides providing practical advice on living and studying in Australia, as well as important information about mental health and loneliness.
There is also a specific support centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
3. University of South Australia
The University of South Australia has a number of pathways for entry to the university depending on your circumstances. There are routes for international students, those who have completed their schooling and those with no prior qualifications.
A number of equity projects aim to increase access to and participation in higher education for domestic undergraduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
4. University of Hong Kong
The SEN Support service at the University of Hong Kong is for students with physical and learning difficulties. The service provides information on campus facilities, learning aids and equipment, funding resources, employment preparation, special exam arrangements, volunteer/buddy support and study coaching.
5. University of Johannesburg
The University of Johannesburg is a diverse university with more than 3,000 international students from more than 80 countries. The university has strong links and partnerships with many universities globally.
The university aims to involve students and staff in community engagement. It undertakes community-based research that helps to make a contribution to the community in the form of services, products and/or knowledge and skills.
The university also encourages students to take part in community-based initiatives outside academic programmes to address development needs.
The top 100 universities for reducing inequality